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FPCCI VP Khurram Aijaz plays key role to get 15 free days period at ports by KPT

FPCCI VP Khurram Aijaz plays key role to get 15 free days period at ports by KPT

KARACHI: In view the hardship being faced by businesses due to Covid19, Karachi Port Trust (KPT) has allowed 15 working days as free period instead of 5, applicable from 25 March to 30 April, 2020. FPCCI Vice President Khurram Aijaz played important role to get this relief for importers and traders.
FPCCI Vice President Khurram Aijaz in his letter on 24 March 2020 to Minister Maritimes Affairs Ali Zaidi said, as there are serious restrictions imposed by the government to stop the spread of CoronaVirus so there is a shortage of customs staff and banking facilities for importers and exporters. In this situation it is impossible for them to get clearance of their goods and pay customs duty in time at Karachi Port and Port Qasim, so they have to bear heavy demurrage charges in case of delay in the clearance. The FPCCI requested the Minister to instruct PQA/KPT and private terminal operators to waive demurrage charge till 31st May, 2020. And now the official notification has been issued in this regard.
FPCCI Vice President Khurram Aijaz said Ministry of Maritime Affairs has decided to waive port demurrages and extend free time at ports. It was reported that Minister Ali Zaidi announced that port demurrage charges would be waived by the ports till April 15, 2020. An official said that even after the issuance of official notification, port operators could go to court and obtain stay as it happened in past. To meet the challenge of the COVID – 19 challenge and to ensure that Port Operations continue unheeded and the supply service chain is not hindered, Ministry of Maritime Affairs has taken the following measures: Essential supplies of Medical Equipment/ Medical Supplies and Protective Gear, Perishable items, Food stuffs including Grains and Lentils, Pulses and Petroleum products is cleared expeditiously and freight is despatched. To facilitate importers and exporters, Port Authorities were advised to reduce/waive terminal, linear, demurrage charges and to extend free time at ports but QICT and Maersk Pakistan are still charging demurrage and detention.
In back to back tweets, Ali Zaidi confirmed KPT will also allow the Terminal Operating Co’s (TOC’s) to utilize KPT storage area to accommodate excessive containers subject to availability of space. TOCs will be additionally allowed to utilise KPT land till May 15 for the containers landing between 25 March and 30 April 2020.
On the proposal moved by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs led by Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) approved the KPT Board Resolution for extension in existing free period from 5 working days to 15 working days for cargo/containers landing with effect from 25-3-2020 till 30-4-2020. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the meeting of the ECC of the Cabinet.
Customs Today has taken up this issue from last few weeks and extensively reported about the miseries being faced by the importers and traders due to Coronavirus disaster and difficulties incurred in clearance of their imported cargo. The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) lambasted shipping lines and terminal operators for not giving any relief to importers and traders on demurrage and detention charges and allowing free time at ports. FPCCI Vice President Khurram Aijaz played important role in highlighting miseries of traders and forwarding their grievances to the higher authorities. Former Central Vice Chairman Pakistan Auto Spare Parts Importers and Dealers Association, Pakistan Awais Piracha, PALIMA (Pakistan Artificial Leather Importers & Merchants Association) chairman Faheem Ur Rehman Saighol, Karachi Customs Agents Association (KCAA) General Secretary Muhammad Aamir, All Pakistan Customs Agents Association (APCAA) President Arshad Jamal, All Pakistan Timber Traders Association (APTTA) Chairman Muhammad Sharjeel Goplani, Friends of Business & Economic Reforms President Kashif Anwar, Pakistan Chemicals & Dyes Merchants Association (PCDMA) chairman and Customs Clearing Agents Mr. Sharjeel Jamal, Mr. Naeem and Mr. Zargham Shah also raised this issue at different forums and press conferences and played their role for the benefit of the national economy at large. Customs Today was the only newspaper that voiced concerns of traders and importers and covered their demands of 100% waiver in demurrage and detention charges and seeking of free extra time at ports.