GHANA – Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) and shippers have said that freight charges for exporting Ghana’s cocoa to Europe have been slashed by 9.4% for the 2018/19 season.

According to Reuters report, the reduction was made following the about 40% decline in cocoa prices on the world market in the 2017/18 season.

“The reduction in the tariffs was mainly due to recent price volatilities in global cocoa prices.

The price of cocoa is down by 40% so we think a 9.4% reduction somehow compensates for it,” said Benonita Bismarck, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GSA.

Shippers would receive US$40 per tonne down from US$44 as charges for shipment to the United Kingdom (UK) and other European countries.

Speaking at a three-day cocoa freight negotiation conference held in Ghana, Ms Benonita said the bunker adjustment factor (BAF) was increased by 25% as a result of the volatility of oil prices and other related carrier charges.

Other conditions of shipments agreed on during the negotiations include supply dressing materials, position empty containers at the cocoa stuffing areas and bear lift on and lift off cost.

The Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC), on the other hand, would carry out the dressing and stuffing of containers, delivery of full boxes to named places and terminals and fumigation of empty laden containers.

In addition to saving the country millions of dollars, delivery of allocation letters to shipping lines is expected to minimise delays and associated costs to make for quicker and more efficient shipment.

Fall in global prices

As a result of a sharp fall in global bean prices, Ghana which is the world’s second largest cocoa producer after Ivory Coast is said to have lost about US$410 million last year.

For main cocoa crop season, it exports mainly to Europe while the light crop harvest is which is discounted by around 20% is processed by the local grinders.

According to GSA, at least 700,000 tonnes of premium beans from the main crop harvest is exported annually.

Ghana and Ivory Coast, the two countries which supply about 60% of the world’s cocoa unveiled plans to announce the price they will pay cocoa farmers for the upcoming October-September crop.

The deal not only aims to harmonise industry activities but also control cocoa prices and reduce smuggling across the borders.