The Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC), together with the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) and major shipping lines have begun the cocoa freight negotiation conference in Accra for the 2020/2021 crop season.
The conference which began on 24th September 2020 is being hosted for the second time in Ghana while past negotiations for the last two decades were held in Europe.
The one-day conference would provide the platform for the CMC in collaboration with the GSA and the shipping lines serving Ghana’s cocoa trade to negotiate the freight rate as well as conditions of shipment of cocoa for the coming season.
The Managing Director of the CMC, Mr. Vincent Okyere Akomeah in his welcome disclosed that Ghana shipped over 500,000 tonnes of cocoa during the 2019/2020 cocoa season.
“It is significant to note that 52% out of this volume was shipped from Takoradi, 42% in Tema and 6% from Kumasi; reflecting the fact that about 45% of total cocoa production in Ghana is coming from the Western Region.”, he explained.
He encouraged more shipping lines to load cocoa from the Takoradi Port since only three shipping lines are currently carrying cocoa from there. The shipping lines were assured of incentives such as greater volumes and free empty container terminal at Kejebril to facilitate their operation from Takoradi.
“We anticipate that Ghana’s cocoa exports for the coming cocoa season would increase to about 700,000 tonnes. We, therefore, expect a greater volume of about 75% shipment by ending of February 2021. This will be the period we will rely on your utmost cooperation as partners, especially with reliable ETA of vessels, availability, and delivery of good Food Grade containers to our terminals.”, he stressed.
CEO of the GSA, Ms. Benonita Bismarck used the occasion to thank shipping lines for their timely support in waiving off demurrage accrued on cargos of shippers during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
She called on all parties to be guided by the same spirit used in previous negotiations to ensure a resounding success of this year’s conference.
She was optimistic that after the negotiations the stakeholders would come out with freight rates and conditions of shipment that will provide a win-win situation for all.
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), Maersk Line, Pacific International Lines (PIL), Grimaldi, CMA CGM, ZIM/GSL, COSCO Shipping, UNIATLANTICO, among other shipping lines are part of this year’s cocoa freight negotiation conference.
About Cocoa Freight Negotiation Conference
For almost two decades, the Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC) Ltd and the Ghana Shippers Authority have engaged shipping lines in the determination of freight charges for the carriage of Ghana’s cocoa beans and other cocoa products from Ghana to destinations in Europe, America, Asia, etc.
These agreed freight charges became applicable for each cocoa season; usually from October to September the subsequent year.
Since 2009, after the repeal of the EU Regulation 4056/86, Ghana began holding separate negotiations with individual shipping lines annually in Europe for the shipment of the country’s cocoa beans.
This new arrangement involves the submission of proposals by the shipping lines which forms an integral part in the process of determining an appropriate freight rate based on negotiations with the representatives of the shipping lines and the subsequent announcement of an agreed rate for the season.
Story by Naa Anyema Collison