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Business News of Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Source: Eye on Port

Freight forwarders angry at banks over long queues to pay duties at the port

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Some freight forwarders in Tema are fuming with rage over the decision by banks who receive payment of duties at the Port of Tema to close some of their branches and also operate with limited staff.

Long queues characterised the Tema long room GCB bank and Ecobank which are the only banks accepting payment of duties with limited staff at the Port.

The queues made it difficult for the freight forwarders to observe the social distancing policy by government which is a precautionary measure to the fight against Covid-19.

Checks by Eye on Port revealed that the GCB banks and Ecobank branches at the Golden Jubilee Terminal and Safebond Terminal were closed.

Another factor which is also contributing to the long queues is the fact that the Shipping Lines were refusing to accept cash payments in their various offices which hitherto was not so.

Speaking in an interview with Eye on Port, some of the frustrated freight forwarders said they have been standing in the queue under the scorching sun for a very long time.

They also feared that the decision by the banks to open few branches and operate with limited staff will impede the speed at which clearance of goods could be done.

Samuel Okine, a freight forwarder expressed worry that any delays in the clearance of their goods could lead to extra cost such as rents and demurrages.

The Tema Sector Commander of the Customs division of GRA, Joseph Adu-Kyei described the incident as unfortunate and said he had discussed with the Commissioner of Customs to find a lasting solution to the issue so revenue mobilisation doesn’t suffer.