The Ghana Shippers Council and Cocoa Marketing Company (CMB) have hosted the maiden Cocoa Freight Negotiation conference in the country.

The conference is to begin the determination of freight charges for the carriage of Ghana’s cocoa beans and other cocoa products to Europe, the Americas and Asia on the competitive, transparent and cost-effective basis. 

CEO of the Shippers Council, Benonita Bismarck disclosed to JoyBusiness her outfit will ensure that negotiations result in value for money for the cocoa sector.

“I believe that at the end of the Negotiations we would have come out with workable freight rates and conditions of shipment that provide a win-win situation for all stakeholders. It is also my wish that sound recommendations could come out of this Meeting that will go a long way in improving the performance of the trade,” she stated.

This conference, according to the MD of the Cocoa Marketing Company (CMB) – Mr Joe Forson – was borne out of the objective to “promote local participation aligned with our national interest of a Ghana Beyond Aid”. 

This year’s conference is intended to pursue this objective by reviewing the 2017/18 cocoa crop season and build on the strengths to achieve set objectives.

Speaking at the conference, Joe Forson recounted the challenges faced and successes chalked up in the previous crop season; “The 2017/16 season has been a challenging and interesting season on the International Cocoa Market after more than 40 per cent drop in world market prices in 2016. 

The period also saw the start of direct shipment from Kumasi. A total of 61,000 mt was shipped out of Kumasi directly into the port of Tema. 

This measure was very cost effective since it afforded us the avoidance of double handling.”

On the way forward for the country’s cocoa sector, he assured participants that COCOBOD has put in place various productivity enhancement programmes ranging from hand pollination, irrigation, rehabilitation of infested farms and improvement in warehousing capacity to grow the crop to one million hectares and above Ghana’s bilateral talks with Ivory Coast to collaborate on various fronts ranging from production and research, marketing processing.

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, the Americas, 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 to hold 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 form an integral part in the process of determination of 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.
 

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