Internet Disruption Bites Hard As Importers and Freight Forwarders Demand Plan B

Internet Disruption Bites Hard As Importers and Freight Forwarders Demand Plan B

  • Importers and freight forwarders are demanding for a plan B from government as internet outages at the Port frustrate clearing processes
  • Importers are accruing demurrage and extra charges of rent and storage as a result of the delays
  • They have urged the Shippers Authority to intervene on their behalf to prevent further increases in charges

The general disruption in internet services has been biting hard as importers and freight forwarders at the Tema Port demand for immediate alternatives.

On Thursday, March 14, Ghana, along with other countries on the West African coast experienced internet outages due to damage to undersea fibre optic cables.

Internet Dispruption Bites Hard As Importers and Freight Forwarders Demand Plan B
Internet disruption has affected clearing processes at the port. sources: Ghana Ports and Habours Authority
Source: Getty Images

This had disrupted processes for the clearance of cargo at Ghana’s largest seaport leading to extra demurrages, rent and storage charges due to the delay caused by the internet disruption.

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In an interview with JoyNews, Paulina Abrokwah of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, called on the Ghana Shippers Authority to intervene in the matter.

She said with the ongoing delays the cost of demurrages, rent and storage is likely to sky-rocket, financially crippling many importers who had not planned for such an eventuality.

She urged the Shippers Authority to lead negotiations with the shipping lines and other service providers at the port to ensure that some of the extra costs accrued as a result of the internet disruption is waived.

“Importers don't have to suffer to pay demurrages as a result of this general internet outage," she pleaded.

NCA says internet disruption may take minimum of five weeks to get repaired

Meanwhile, the National Communications Authority (NCA) in a press release says the damaged fibre optic cables will take a minimum of five weeks to get repaired.

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This is despite economic, academic and social activities taking a massive hit following the outage.

In a press release dated March 16, the NCA said the subsea cable landing service providers have identified the approximate locations of the damage and are preparing to dispatch repair vessels to assess the level of damage.

It said the timeframe for the repair vessel to get to the destination and for full service to be restored would take a minimum of five weeks.

Reacting to the development, the Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Samson Awingobit, has called for a Plan B to ensure that the situation does not further worsen the plight of traders.

He said the Economic Management Team must come up with a plan immediately on how imports can be processed swiftly without being affected by the internet disruption.

Banks offer assurances amidst internet disruption

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Kotoka International Airport to introduce new $20 fee for travellers making round trips from May reported that Banks in Ghana have offered assurances to stakeholders for the disruption in internet banking service following the internet outage.

The Ghana Association of Bankers confirmed that digital service delivery has been affected by the outage.

The association assured that it would continue to work with internet service providers to resolve the problem.


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