Freight costs during the pandemic have been a topic of frequent discussion, with some routes becoming astronomical in cost. A Goverment website recently reported, however on the current state of shipping Cocoa out of Ghana and found that with the exception of the United Kingdom, costs have increased across the board.

Freight charges from Ghana have increased by 5%, and exporters are turning to cheaper but riskier bulk shipments, which increased 10% in the 2022/2023 cocoa season. The changes were agreed upon by the Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC), Ghana Shippers Authority, and 18 shipping lines.

After the increase, current rates (calculated per tonne) are set at £31.50 ($34.20) in the UK for both bagged and bulk shipments. In the Northern Continent, bagged Cocoa will now cost $52.35 and $54.85 for bulk.

Shipping to Estonia will now cost $59.83 for bagged Cocoa and $62.69 for bulk; $58.76 for bagged and $61.56 for bulk to Mediterranean Europe; $100.44 for bagged and $106.09 for bulk to the Far East; and $116.24 for bagged and $121.78 for bulk to Brazil.

The Bunker (Fuel) Adjustment Factor (BAF) has risen by 2%, previously from 28% to 30% at present for all destinations aside from the UK. The new figures were settled on at the Cocoa Freight Negotiation Conference held on 20th September 2022, at the Hilton Sorrento Palace in Italy.

The revised freight charges reflect developments in the shipping market: increasing charter rates, container shortages and higher bunker prices were among the considerations when determining the new rates. However, Ghana’s Cocoa prices need to remain competitive, and at a time when production is below expectations, the increase in shipping costs is not welcome.

Managing Director of CMC, Mr Vincent Okyere Akomeah, said that he believes the new rates would be a win-win for the government and the shipping lines He expressed optimism for the coming Cocoa harvest year, encouraging collaboration between key stakeholders, shipping lines, buyers and insurers.  It was unclear where the source of his optimism came from.

Ms Benonita Bismarck, CEO of the Ghana Shippers Authority, thanked the shipping lines for their cooperation and for their continued faith and participation in Ghana’s Cocoa trade.

Among the shipping lines present at the conference were Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Company, ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd, Grimaldi, COSCO Shipping Lines, Messina Lines, Ocean Network, CMA-CGM and Arkas.

Photo by Kinsey on Unsplash

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