Global stakeholders in the cocoa and shipping industry have for the first time converged on Accra for the Cocoa Freight Negotiation Conference, an annual meeting during which freight charges for the carriage of cocoa beans and other cocoa-related products from Ghana are fixed.
The 2018/2019 conference, which marks the beginning of formal engagements among the Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC), the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) and the shipping lines, is being held on the theme: ‘Re-positioning shipping in the cocoa supply chain to advance Ghana’s development agenda’.
The Managing Director (MD) of CMC, Mr Joe Forson, addressing the conference, said the historic conference in Ghana was born of the objective to promote local participation.
Challenging and interesting season
Mr Forson said the 2017/2018 crop season had been challenging with more than a 40 per cent drop in the world market prices of the produce in 2016.
“In the season under review, we saw the growing influence of system funds and algorithmic trading which continues to depress prices,” he noted.
He said the period also saw the start of direct shipments from Kumasi.
“A total of 61,000 tonnes were shipped out of Kumasi directly into the Tema Port,” he said.
The MD of CMC said the measure was cost-effective because it enabled CMC to avoid double handling.
“We were able to chalk up this success through your effective collaboration and the quality services you rendered to us,” he told the stakeholders.
Mr Forson noted that about 25 per cent of the exports were done on free-on-board (FOB) rules.
But going forward, he said, most of the FOB ports would be converted to Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) ports with the view of having a firm control on shipment programmes.
The Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Titus Glover, expressed the hope that the freight charges and conditions that would be arrived at the negotiations would give Ghana’s cocoa a competitive edge on the international market.
“Cocoa is a key commodity for the economic development of our country. Earnings from cocoa have been the backbone of many infrastructural developments from colonial days to post-independence era,” he stated.
Mr Glover said developments in the industry were, therefore, of significant importance to the government.
The Chief Executive Officer of the GSA, Ms Benonita Bismarck, for her part, said the authority was collaborating with shipping lines to engender transparency in the trade for the benefit of shippers.