MULTAN: Blackmailing of Shipping Companies like M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd, Pacific International Lines (PIL) and its agents in Pakistan, M/s Pacific Delta Shipping (Pvt) Ltd at Qasim International Container terminal (QICT) has shackled the economy. Shipping companies have misplaced the image of port and trust of importers over the collection of inequitable charges of demurrage and detention on clearance of shipments. National Accountability Bureau must take strict action against the said shipping companies involved in the collection of unjustified detention and demurrage charges from importers to redress complaints.
It was stated by Chairman All Pakistan Solvent Extractors Association Mian Shakeel Javed to Customs Today about blackmailing of shipping companies.
He said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf government is facing huge financial challenges in the country due to widespread money laundering, tax evasion along with current account deficit and absence of foreign investment. Shipping industry plays the pivotal role in national economy as all importers and exporters obtain facility of shipping companies for the clearance of their legal shipments.
But few shipping companies are creating serious hurdles for the importers for the clearance of their legitimate shipments by charging them excessive demurrage and detention charges without any justification. According to law, shipping lines are not allowed to collect any demurrage and detention amounts from the importer when the importer provides ‘delay and detention certificate’ under section 14 A of the Customs Act, 1969. But shipping companies are breaching set laws and procedure for the collection of illegal charges and blocking the shipments in case of refusal from importers which boosts cost of business for the importers, he added.
He said that blackmailing of shipping companies like M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd, Pacific International Lines (PIL) and its agents in Pakistan, M/s Pacific Delta Shipping (Pvt) Ltd has reached to their peak due to lack of accountability. Unfortunately, corruption of shipping companies at QICT has become monstrous due to ineffective monitoring of regulatory body and it caused huge loss to national exchequer.
He said that government needs to adopt zero-tolerance policy against corruption in the country to curtail this menace; otherwise importers will stop handling their import shipments and prefer illegal ways like smuggling. Business community and importers are always ready to pay reasonable taxes to government but shipping companies are robbing huge revenue from importers in shape of demurrage and detention charges without any logic. He said that there is no check and balance on the shipping companies and we need to implement accountability laws on shipping companies to stop their corrupt practices.
He said that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) role is very important in eradication of corruption from the country and Chairman NAB should take stern action against M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd, Pacific International Lines (PIL) and its agents in Pakistan, M/s Pacific Delta Shipping (Pvt) Ltd for their extraordinary irregularities and recover all looted amount to provide relief to importers.