MULTAN: Government should take strict action against shipping company M/s Maersk Pakistan Pvt Ltd and terminal operator QICT which are involved in the collection of exorbitant charges as demurrage and detention charges for the clearance of shipments from genuine importers. These shipping companies are spoiling business environment due to their blackmailing at port by collecting unjustified demurrage and detention charges for the clearance of legitimate shipments.
It was stated by Senior Vice President of Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Khawaja Muhammad Badar Munir in his exclusive talk with Customs Today the other day. He said that collection of exorbitant demurrage and detention charges by above-mentioned companies on clearance of import shipment is sheer violation of laws under SRO1220 (I)/2015.
He said that SRO 1220(I)/ 2015 explains that shipping companies cannot charge any demurrage and detention where specifically it is not agreed and also specifically not mentioned on the B/L (Bill of lading) but these companies are compelling genuine importers to pay excess charges in shape of detention charges. These shipping companies and terminal operator are operating like a mafia and they create unnecessary delays in the clearance of shipments by making lame excuses. Even those importers are blackmailed which are already issued delay and detention certificate by Customs.
He added that collection of demurrage and detention charges from importers of South Punjab and from nationwide without any specified agreement is unfair. According to section 14-A of the Customs Act, 1969, importer cannot be forced to pay any demurrage or detention charges if Customs gives a certificate to importer called the ‘delay and detention certificate’. But despite this certificate, importers’ goods are held illegally to demand heavy amounts as demurrage.
He said that shipping line M/s Maersk Pakistan and the QICT are blackmailing importers for the clearance of their shipments, and collection of demurrage and detention charges from importers is intolerable as importers are facing huge obstacles in the clearance of their shipments on time due to their blackmailing.
He said that business community of South Punjab has been constantly receiving complaints against these shipping lines, their agents and terminal operators 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 which caused financial loss to importers.
He said that importers of South Punjab contributes huge portion of revenue in wake of taxes to Federal Board of Revenue, Customs departments and government. Illegal collection of demurrage and detention charges create serious business crisis in the country for importers and exporters for the clearance of shipments. He said that these shipping companies are robbing huge revenue from importers by offering them discount at the initial stage but when the shipment reaches at port they demand additional charges without any reason. He said that these shipping companies are collecting unfair demurrage or detention charges from importers by violating set laws.
He demanded from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf government to take action against shipping companies who are 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.