Maritime Lawyer, Stanley Ahorlu has urged Business Associations who are being levied Terminal Handling Charges (THC) at the ports, to hit the courts to settle the matter.
The move he says must be made if the Ghana Shippers’ Authority refuses to take legal action on the matter. According to him, some shipping lines have disregarded the law by implementing the terminal handling charges at the ports and must be made to face the law.
“There cannot be any equivocation as to what the law says. Of course you can challenge the law for being unreasonable, and so on and so forth but that notwithstanding, the matter could be settled in court," added.
“In my mind, what should have happened is that those who are peeved by the introduction of the Terminal Handling Charges should go to the Ghana Shippers Authority to enforce the law. When they fail to enforce the law, they should be compelled by any legal process to enforce the law.”
President John Mahama recently directed that the charges be stopped since it is illegal. Prior to that, the Transport Ministry had also directed all shipping lines in the country to stop charging the Terminal Handling Charges.
Despite the directive, 5 shipping lines MSC Ghana, PIL Ghana, CMA CGM Ghana, Maersk Ghana and Intermodal Shipping Agency Ghana were reported to be still charging the fees and flouting the Minister’s directives. President of the AGI, James Asare Adjei also asserts that the continuous imposition makes the businesses lose up to 78 million dollars annually to the shipping lines.
A latest caution from the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) on the matter indicated that shipping lines that defy the order will be denied access to operate at the port. Speaking on Citi FM’s consumer focus program Business Today, Mr. Ahorlu stated the Law has been sidestepped in this matter and must be applied to ensure mutual understanding among those involved. “It is pretty obvious to me that the law has been sidestepped and this should not be the case,” the Maritime Lawyer stressed.