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‘Govt should take action against Maersk, QICT for hiring Indians at key positions, looting importers’

‘Govt should take action against Maersk, QICT for hiring Indians at key positions, looting importers’

MULTAN: 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 looting worth Rs 610 billion from importers through collection of unlawful demurrage and detention charges. Now these companies Indian officials may also spread Coronavirus throughout Pakistan while entering from DP World / QICT and Maersk which are reportedly being controlled by Indians.

He said above accused shipping company and terminal operator gravely dented the image of port by compelling importers to pay additional charges on clearance of shipments. Accused shipping companies 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 said shipping company and terminal operator allegedly involved in looting importers through collection of unjustified detention and demurrage charges to redress grievances of importers. They should also take notice against them for appointing Indians at key posts who could pose serious security risk to Pakistan.

It was stated by Advocate Mahmood Ahmed while talking to Customs Today regarding blackmailing of shipping companies for charging demurrage and detention of import clearances. He said that corruption is a chronic economic and social disease in the country and national economy will not progress without its prevention

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. Habibullah Khan in connivance with shipping companies created grave complications for 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 is facing corruption charges and several applications for blackmailing importers. They are threatening Customs Today for revealing mega scandals of billions. Threats to Customs Today for exposing 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 threaten media for reporting irregularities of shipping companies involved in illegal collection of detention and demurrage charges.

He said 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 condemned the shameful act of M/s Maersk Pakistan, DP World / Qasim International Container terminal (QICT) and Habibullah Khan for threatening Customs Today over revealing of mega scandals. 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 create unwanted situation at port for the generation of additional revenue. He stated that government is facing huge economic challenges in the country due to extensive money laundering, tax evasion along with current account deficits and absence of foreign investment. Government should focus this sector for promotion of business activities and encourage importers by taking strict action law violating shipping companies in the countries and cancel operating license of violators to restore confidence of business community.

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 company 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 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.