National Port Authority Managing Director Hon. Bill Twehway has signaled an immediate stop-order to the operations of would-be violators or anyone found collecting Demurrage fees despite the abolition of said fees.
Hon.Twehway sounded the warning at a routine roundtable stakeholders meeting on Thursday, as part of enforcement measures to implement President George Weah’s recent pronouncement regarding the cancellation of demurrage at Liberia’s Seaports.
“Demurrage is a charge payable to owners of a chartered ship in respect of failure to load or discharge the ship within the time agreed, which is based on the length of time goods are kept in the facility of a port”and was imposed by the shipping agencies in 2016 during the previous government.
But In an effort to enhance the business climate and provide efficient service delivery, President George Weah recently mandated the National Port Authority (NPA) to cancel demurrage fees at the entity with immediate effect and proceed with a 20-day clearance for businesses that have goods stuck at the port.
The President also mandated the NPA to open its operations to the public seven days a week, 24 hours a day to address the issue of delinquency in the clearing of goods from the port.
The move by the President is intended to alleviate some of the constraints faced by businesses in the clearing of their containers from the Free Port of Monrovia.
Meanwhile, to ensure the collection of reasonable and affordable amounts and encourage competition within the region, the management of the National Port Authority has also begun instituting measures aimed at identifying several other hidden charges including the extra Sundays and Holiday service fees being charged by APM Terminals.
The Port Management and partners have also advanced and instituted an Action Plan for the enforcement of a single window to boast trade transactions❨ One Stop Shop❩; extension of the current banking hours from 3 to 6 PM ahead of the establishment of an electronic payment system at the Freeport of Monrovia.
As part of the Plan, cargo clearing hours will also be extended to 9 PM with possible extension in the future depending on traffic demand and increased throughput.