The Gambia Ports Authourity has dismissed report linking port handling charges to the high food prices in the country.

GPA said the claim was made during the private sector-stakeholder engagement with The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI). 

In a statement the Ports said: “The GPA Management wish to inform all those concerned that the port handling charges have been reduced by more than 55% since 2013, where twenty feet and forty feet containers are only charged D750 and D1,500, respectively. 

“Where demurrage charges are liable to be paid due to delay in clearing cargo or congestion at the Port terminals, concessions continue to be accorded for demurrage charges, particularly for essential commodities such as food items.

“These demurrage charges are fixed at a maximum of D23,000 for 20ft and D46,000 for 40ft containers, irrespective of the length of stay.”

According to the Ports, major causes of the high cost of basic commodities are attributable to external factors which are beyond the control of government.

“Findings have revealed that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, has disrupted global supply chains resulting in high freight cost. It is established that, for example, the freight cost to Banjul has increased by over 100% since November 2020 from an average $2,750 per 20ft Container to $ 5,750.

“The downward scale in global production level has caused high prices of essential commodities in the international market, which have been surging since April 2020. 

“The price of oil, which is a determinant factor on commodity prices, continued to rise from the slump in mid-2020. The Price of a barrel of Brent Crude was USD 42.3 as at November 2020 and it increased to USD 63.8 by April 2021, representing an increase of 50.83%,” it added.

The Ports continued that The Gambia being a net importer of food like many other developing countries continues to feel these impacts in the domestic market in a form of price hikes because of these externalities.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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