Shippers To Pay Lower Freight Rates

Benonita Bismarck, CEO of GSA


MOHAMED SAMARA, Chief Executive Officer of Meridian Port Services (MPS), has indicated that the ongoing expansion of ports in the West African sub-region will likely lead to a reduction in the freight rates paid by Ghanaian shippers.

He made this known at a breakfast meeting dubbed ‘Time with MPS’ organised by the Greater Accra Shippers Committee (GASC) on Thursday.

Mr. Samara highlighted the significant investments made in port infrastructure across the West African sub-region. He cited countries with ambitious plans like Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo, Senegal, and Nigeria.

He said these investments would attract larger vessels, which, in turn, would exert downward pressure on freight rates.

He explained, “West Africa has seen substantial investments. We initiated this trend in Ghana with our grand vision to build a larger port. Abidjan quickly followed, and Lekki in Nigeria, along with Dakar looking at upgrading their port facilities. These ports will compete with each other, not only for transshipment but also for accommodating mega-ships with capacities of up to 18,000 TEU. When multiple ports can handle such large vessels, it inevitably leads to a reduction in freight rates.”

Mr. Samara also mentioned that since the establishment of the MPS Terminal Three (3), congestion surcharges have been eliminated. He explained “We introduced a concept called the ‘berthing window,’ which designates specific time slots for each shipping line to dock. This synchronization has reduced waiting times, leading to the elimination of congestion surcharges. Previously, in Tema, the congestion surcharge was 500 euros for half a million TEUs, which was a significant cost for shippers. Removing such surcharges enhances trade facilitation and contributes to economic stability in the West African region.”

These developments are anticipated to enhance trade facilitation and bring about greater economic stability among West African nations.

His comments come at a time the cost of freight for the retailer’s goods globally is said to have collapsed over the last six months, heading back to the pre-pandemic levels.

The GARSC Breakfast Meeting aimed to spotlight the innovations, opportunities, and challenges within MPS operations and address the concerns of the Terminal’s users. The event was attended by importers, exporters, and key Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.

Chief Executive Officer of the GSA, Benonita Bismarck, commended the GARSC, particularly the Education and Research Sub-committee, for collaborating with the GSA to organise the meeting.

She expressed confidence that the dialogue would significantly contribute to improving service in the shipping sector.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri