The Ghana Association of Stevedoring Companies (GASCO), and six privately-owned Ghanaian stevedoring companies, have dragged the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) to an Accra High Court, commercial division.
The six privately-owned Ghanaian stevedoring companies are Golden Gate Services Limited, Odart Stevedoring Company Limited, Advance Stevedoring Company, Speedline Stevedoring Company Limited, Dashwood Shipping Agencies Limited and Fountain View Limited.
This legal tussle is as a result of the decision of the GPHA to add berths three, four and five, to berths one and two, which already holds over 50 per cent of all stevedoring works at the Tema Ports, to Meridian Port Services (MPS), to the detriment of the Ghanaian privately-owned stevedoring companies.
The action is to seek a declaration that by virtue of the fact that the concession agreement between the Authority and Meridian Port Services (MPS) had no prior approval of the Parliament of Ghana, as indicated in the Article 181, sub-section 5 of the 1992 Constitution, it should be declared null and void.
They are also seeking a declaration that the decision of the GPHA to authorise and empower MPS to place limitations on their rights, under the existing stevedoring licenses, to carry out stevedoring operations at Quay 2 of the Tema Port was unlawful, as it was done arbitrarily.
The plaintiffs are further asking for a declaration that the meeting held on March 29, 2007, between all stakeholders, in connection with the GPHA and MPS concession agreement, was that MPS was to have the exclusive right to operate berths 1 and 2, and the rest of the six companies handle stevedoring works at berths 3 to 12.
Finally, they are asking for an injunction to restrain the GPHA and MPS, from further limiting their operations as licensed stevedores, on berths 3, 4 and 5 of Quay 2, and the whole of Quay 1, until the final determination of the case, and some costs.
In their statement of claim, the six companies stated that each of them holds a one year renewable license, issued to them by the GPHA, to operate stevedoring activities at the Tema Port since 2002, and have been renewing it till date.