President John Mahama has waded into the controversialTerminal Handling Charges Friday, calling for the new charges to be stopped.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the first anniversary of the National Single Window Project, president Mahama said there is"absolutely no legal basis for the terminal handling charges that are being levelled."

The president's comments follow a directive by the Transport Minister, Fiifi Quartey, for the shipping lines operating to and from the seaports of Ghana to halt the introduction of the THC.

The new charges sparked furious agitation from the coalition of businesses representing a critical mass of shippers and traders in the country.

Shipping lines such as Pacific International Line (PIL), Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), CMA CGM, Arkas Lines and UASC imposed an average $150 as a Terminal Handling Charge for 20-footer container and $265 for a 40-footer.They include the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana National Chamber of Commerce (GNCC), Ghana Chamber of Mines, Federation of Associations of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE), Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) and the Greater Accra Regional Shippers Committee (GARSC).

"The Hon. Minister of Transport has written expressly to stop this charge. This must be implemented immediately," president Mahama ordered.

In August, the Transport Minister in a press statement said: Terminal Handling Charges (THC) cannot be introduced at the ports in Ghana "as a local charge.”

“Terminal Handling Charges may be introduced as part of the freight payable by the shipper at the port of origin in accordance with the appropriate INCOTERMS,” Fiifi Quatey noted.