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‘Govt must take action against Maersk, QICT to provide relief to importers’

‘Govt must take action against Maersk, QICT to provide relief to importers’

LAHORE: Government should take strict action against M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and DP World / Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) and also probe the role of Habibullah Khan for allegedly looting worth 610 billion rupees from importers through collection of unlawful demurrage and detention charges from genuine importers.

It was stated by Barrister Qadeer Ahmad while talking to Customs Today regarding blackmailing of shipping companies and terminal operator for charging extra demurrage and detention of import clearances. He said that corruption is a chronic economic and social disease and national economy will not progress without its prevention. Accused shipping company and terminal operator have gravely dented the image of ports by compelling importers to pay additional charges on clearance of shipments. Accused shipping company, terminal operator and Habibullah Khan are destroying economic activities through collection of unfair demurrage and detention charges. Intelligence Agencies and National Accountability Bureau should take serious action against the said shipping companies and Habibullah Khan allegedly involved in looting importers through collection of unjustified detention and demurrage charges.

He said that importers are upset about blackmailing of M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and DP World / Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) for collection of demurrage and detention charges on each clearance. Alleged accused Habibullah Khan with connivance of shipping companies have created grave complications for the importers on clearance of their legitimate shipments by charging them excessive demurrage and detention charges without any justification.

He said M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and DP World / QICT were given free hand for collection of unfair demurrage and demurrage charges from importers due to negligence of ministry of maritime. Habibullah Khan facing corruption charges and several applications for blackmailing importers has become headache for importers.

He said Customs Today is being threatened for revealing mega scandals of billions of rupees. Threats to Customs Today for enlightening facts against corruption of Maersk Line, DP World / Qasim International Container Terminal along with front man Habibullah Khan and other shipping companies aimed at deterring the ability of the press to report the truth and restrict access to information. Government should provide adequate and significant security to media houses, journalists and newspaper offices and take strict action against the culprits who threatens media for reporting irregularities of shipping companies involved in illegal collection of detention and demurrage charges.

Ministry of Port and Shipping should regulate all shipping companies under their set laws. It is need of the hour to implement accountability laws on shipping companies to stop their exploitation for resolving issues of importers, he said.

He condemned the shameful act of M/s Maersk Pakistan, DP World / QICT and Habibullah Khan for threatening them over revealing of mega scandals through collection of detention and demurrage charges from clients on their shipments. Importers are struggling and protesting against illegitimate/fraudulent charges of shipping companies and terminal operators. He believed that collection of unfair demurrage and detention charges from shipments always creates unwanted situation at ports for the generation of additional revenue. He condemned the shameful act of M/s Maersk Pakistan and DP World / QICT for threatening them over revealing of mega scandals through collection of detention and demurrage charges from clients on their shipments.

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 blocked the shipments in case of refusal from importers which enhanced cost of business for the importers.

He said blackmailing of shipping companies M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and DP World / Qasim International Container terminal (QICT) has reached to their ultimate due to lack of accountability and ineffective monitoring of regulatory body which also caused huge loss to national exchequer.

He appealed to the government of Pakistan and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to take strict action against M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd, DP World / Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) and Habibullah Khan for their scandalous irregularities and recover all looted amount to provide relief to importers.