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Govt should cancel licenses of shipping cos involved in demurrage and detention scam: Khawaja Suleman Siddiqui

Govt should cancel licenses of shipping cos involved in demurrage and detention scam: Khawaja Suleman Siddiqui

MULTAN: The government should immediately cancel the operational licenses of those shipping companies who are involved in collection of exorbitant demurrage and detention charges from genuine importers.

It was stated by Chairman All Pakistan Anjuman Tajiran Khawaja Muhammad Suleman Siddiqui in his exclusive talk with Customs Today the other day.

He said that the collection of exorbitant demurrage and detention charges by several shipping companies on clearance is a sheer violation of laws and those shipping companies operating license should be canceled under SRO1220(I)/2015. Collection of demurrage and detention charges from importers of South Punjab and other regions of the country without any specified agreement is unfair.

He said that several shipping companies are blackmailing importers during clearance of their shipments and collection of demurrage and detention charges from importers is intolerable and importers are facing huge obstacles in the clearance of their shipments on time due to their blackmailing.

He said that All Pakistan Anjuman Tajiran has been constantly receiving complaints against these shipping lines and their agents involved in taking unjustified demurrage and detention charges from importers of South Punjab for the clearance of shipments. Importers of South Punjab faced blackmailing of shipping companies for the clearance of their legally imported shipments and shipping companies charged unjustified demurrage and detention charges, otherwise importers have to face an insignificant delay in the clearance of their shipments which also causes financial loss to importers.

He said that South Punjab is the hub of trade activities in the province which is contributing a huge portion of revenue in wake of taxes to Federal Board of Revenue, Customs department and national exchequer. Illegal collection of demurrage and detention charges would convert into a big crisis for importers and exporters because shipping companies are looting huge revenue from importers by trapping them with offering low rates at the initial stage but when the shipment reaches Karachi they don’t release the goods and demand additional charges.

He said that shipping companies and port authorities cannot charge any demurrage or detention charges if Customs provides a delay and detention certificate to importers but reportedly even with this certificate several shipping companies are charging illegal demurrage to genuine importers by violating set laws.

He demanded the Ministry of Ports and Shipping to take special measures for guarding importers against their blackmailing by regulating shipping policies to promote business activity. Government should take strict action against shipping companies for charging additional demurrage and detention charges.

He suggested the government to take action against shipping companies who were involved in charging excess logistic charges and they should be punished under rules 603(q), 603(r), 604(p), 604(q) & 607(e), others under SRO 1220/2015 which includes penalty and also cancellation of license.