The Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarding (GIFF) on Friday advocated the integration of the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) and the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) to prevent duplicity of functions and waste of public resources.

GIFF said what the GSA sought to do was what the GMA was mandated to do under their law, (Act 630) hence the need for  GSA to be integrated since its main objective was to serve the interest of shippers and could not be neutral in their dealings with other stakeholders in the shipping industry.

Mr Jonathan Amanor, Chairman of Tema District of GIFF, who made this known at a press conference in Tema said shippers could also be better served by the a private shipper association which had no allegiance to government and could hold them accountable.

He noted that GMA and the Maritime Authorities in developed countries are in charge of regulating the technical aspects of shipping while the commercial aspects are controlled by negotiations with education and support by private shipper association.

Mr Amanor  said there had been no audited accounts of the GSA to the shipping public, and stressed that the authority that negotiated the charges of other service providers had never provided a forum for the negotiation of the various fees paid by shippers.

He said GSA by its proposed regulation sought to control charges in the shipping industry and if GIFF found it relevant it would call for a consumer protection law to negotiate charges for all forms of consumptions in the industry.

Mr Amanor noted that under the proposed GSA law, it had power to negotiate service charges for shippers with the aim of protecting the shipper.

He said the move was not ideal for shippers.

He said freight forwarding was an international business and charges for services could be concluded outside the country or governed by contractual stipulations that excluded third parties like the shippers authority.

Mr Amanor said the GSA was proposing to charge an additional 25 Euros per bill of lading for every import and five Euros per bill of lading for every export as tracking fee, when tracking was done on the internet free of charge.

He said the proposal by the GSA was an exploitation of already cost drained and disenfranchised Ghanaian shipper.

Source: GNA

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