MULTAN: Customs clearance of import shipments has become a constant headache for importers due to blackmailing of M/s Maersk Pakistan Pvt. Ltd. and Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) for collection of unjustified demurrage and detention charges. This shipping company is violating set rules and laws with cooperation of the port terminal by forcing importers to pay additional charges under the head of demurrage and detention on clearance of shipments.
It was stated by importer and former President of Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Malik Israr Ahmad about illegal demurrage and detention charges from importers.
He said that collection of unjustified demurrage and detention charges from importers on clearance of import shipments is creating risks and increasing costs for business community at Qasim International Container Terminal. Business community is still facing huge challenges in the import of raw materials and export of finished goods due to intentional delay from the port terminal and the above-mentioned shipping company. Unnecessary delay in the clearance of shipments causes heavy losses to importers and raise business cost. This shipping company has close nexus with Port terminal and they deliberately slow down the clearance process of shipments to generate additional revenue from importers and exporters.
He said that business community along with their clearing agents has raised issue of unnecessary delay in the clearance of shipments by the port terminal and the shipping company for the generation of unfair demurrage and detention charges because it creates huge obstacles in the smoother trade for genuine importers. The shipping company Maersk Pakistan is charging illegal demurrage and detention charges from importers but government has not taken any serious action against them.
Importers are trapped by offering fake discounts through their agents but then Maersk and the QICT demand exorbitant charges under the head of demurrage and detention charges along with their standard duties. He said that incumbent rupee devaluation has also enhanced cost of raw materials used in the manufacturing of finished goods.
Importers faced unnecessary delay and discriminatory behaviour from the shipping company and port terminal which inserts negative impact on productivity and efficiency due to inevitable time lag between the purchase of inputs and delivery of finished products and it also creates additional currency risk. Business community is unable to deal with devaluation of currency in the present unstable market condition due to needless delay in clearance of shipments for the collection of demurrage and detention charges.
Poor clearance services from Shipping Company Maersk Pakistan and QICT are also creating delay in the delivery of finished goods in given time which erodes customer trust and impacts the business negatively. Developed countries have a reliable logistics service provider which helps importers in whole supply chain process to transport shipments to local, regional and international customers without any hurdle. But we face complicated clearance procedure, excessive delay and blackmailing from Maersk Pakistan and QICT for collection of baseless demurrage and detention charges.
He appealed from Government to remove logistic hurdles by regulating shipping companies which will create potential business opportunities in the country and stop M/s Maersk Pakistan and QICT from collection of baseless demurrage and detention charges from genuine importers.