Increase in the Prices of Liberia’s Staple Food Imminent Due to Rising Cost in International Freight, Fees at Freeport of Monrovia

Rice is distributed and sold at the weekly market in the Zleh Town area of Grand Gedeh county, Liberia.

MONROVIA – FrontPageAfrica has reliably gathered that there is an imminent increase in the price of rice due to a sharp increase in cost of international freight and other increments in various fees at the Freeport of Monrovia.

Several rice importers and importers of other staple food who tipped FrontPageAfrica of the imminent increment in the price of the country’s stable food said they are being compelled to make an increment due to how exorbitant it is becoming to import.

They said their attention has also been drawn to the recent increment of fees of vessel and warehouse operation by the Association of Liberia Stacking Companies.

FrontPageAfrica  Association, since their last agreement with importers in 2016, they have not imposed any increment, but there is now the need for additional charges.

The importers believe with the series of increment on almost every service provided at the Freeport of Monrovia, they would be left with no option to also increase prices of their goods to commensurate with the rising cost of importing into Liberia.

In January, APM Terminals which manages the Freeport of Monrovia, announced a 9.67 percent increment on all current charges of its services at the Free Port of Monrovia. The port operator says the increment is in line with its concession agreement with the government of Liberia which allows a 2021 tariff adjustment using predefined formula.

In February, APM Terminals began to implement the increment which sparked contention and prompted the intervention of the Legislature.

APM Terminals Liberia increased its terminal handling charge by 10% effective 1st of February 2019 which is in line with the concession agreement signed between APM Terminals and the Government of Liberia in September 2010.

The concession agreement allows for a yearly increase in tariff. The 10% increase means shippers will now pay USD185 as against the USD167 in 2018 as handling charge for a twenty-foot container (one TEU). 

APM Terminals also decided to lighten the burden on shippers and has deferred its plans to reduce the number of storage free days from 5 to 3 days even though the reduction in storage free days should have been implemented in August 2014, in line with the concession agreement signed with the government. 

The total transport and logistics cost of a shipment includes payments for ocean freight, custom duties, National Port Authority access fees and royalty, BIVAC inspection fees, customer brokers fees, container handling/freight forwarding agent fees and trucking from the port to the warehouse. The terminal storage and handling cost usually accrue to APM Terminals Liberia, amounts to 0.5% of the total transport and logistics cost incurred by the shipper and with the tariff increase, now amounts to 0.55%.