Bloomberg News

Ghana Cocoa Shipments Disrupted at Least Two Weeks After Dispute

January 04, 2012

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Cocoa shipments from Ghana, the world’s second-largest producer, have been disrupted for at least two weeks at Safmarine Container Lines NV and A.P. Moller- Maersk S/A after a dispute about who is responsible to pay a fee to the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.

Safmarine said on Dec. 9 it hadn’t shipped cocoa for the past week and Maersk wasn’t moving cocoa at least by Dec. 8. The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority charges a fee to carry cocoa from warehouses to ports and ships. Safmarine still isn’t moving cocoa from Ghana, Didier Willemse, head of commodity sales, said by phone from Antwerp, Belgium, today. Maersk wasn’t shipping as of Dec. 19, according to Sonny Dahl, director of West Africa services for Copenhagen-based Maersk.

The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority wants about 78 cedis ($47.58) for every 20-foot container to carry cocoa from warehouses into ports and load on ships, Nester Percy Galley, director-general of the port authority, said on Dec. 12. Some shippers have agreed to pay the fee, he said.

Galley referred questions on the issue to the Cocoa Marketing Co. in a phone interview today. Noah Amenyah, spokesman for the Ghana Cocoa Board which oversees the marketing company, didn’t answer calls made to his mobile phone.

Output in Ghana will be 850,000 to 900,000 metric tons this season, down from 1.024 million tons a year earlier, according to Ecobank Transnational Inc., a Lome, Togo-based bank. The cocoa season runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. Ivory Coast is the biggest grower.

--With assistance from Ekow Dontohin Accra. Editors: Claudia Carpenter, Sharon Lindores

To contact the reporter on this story: Isis Almeida in London at Ialmeida3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at Ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net.


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