Negotiations over the cocoa freight rate for the 2021/22 cocoa year has ended in Accra with parties agreeing a five percent (5%) upward adjustment, the BFT has reported.
Reports say the parties including Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC), Ghana Shippers Authority and the shipping lines agreed on a 5% increment across the board on the previous freight rate with the Bunker Adjustment Factor increased by 1%.
This means the freight rate charged by shipping lines that ferry cocoa from Ghana to various international destinations are up, with cargo to the United Kingdom, for example, now at £31.5 from the previous rate of £30.
This conclusion was arrived at during the 2021/2022 Cocoa Freight Negotiation Conference, held in Accra.
Represented by his deputy, the Minister of Transport Kweku Ofori Asiamah, said infrastructural investments made in both the ports of Takoradi and Tema would give the shipment of cocoa in Ghana a significant boost.
The Managing Director of the Cocoa Marketing Company, Vincent Okyere Akomeah, revealed that Ghana recorded the highest production levels ever since the introduction of cocoa in the 2020/2021 year despite the year being a very challenging one.
He, however, called on shipping lines to increase their use of the Takoradi Port.
Mr. Akomeah disclosed that “only four shipping lines call at the Takoradi Port although that port handles the highest volumes of our shipment, that is 47% of our total shipment, with Tema and Kumasi accounting for 40% and 13% respectively.”
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers Authority, Benonita Bismarck, praised shipping lines for adopting improved digital means of transaction in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, she urged the lines to institute standard operating procedures for their various services to improve ease of doing business at the ports of Ghana.
“Some of the shipping agents had a plethora of inexplicable charges and also engage in blacklisting clearing agents for outstanding debts on previous transactions to the detriment of innocent consignees thereby resulting in delays and colossal demurrage payments. These issues have impacted on the rising cost of doing business at Ghana’s ports,” she bemoaned.