MULTAN: Government should take strict action against Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) and Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd for spoiling business environment through blackmailing for collection of additional demurrage and detention charges for the clearance of shipments from genuine importers. He said that collection of exorbitant demurrage and detention charges by the shipping companies on clearance of import shipment is sheer violation of laws under SRO1220 (I)/2015.
It was stated by renowned industrialist and Chairman of Multan Dry Port Trust (MDPT) Khawaja Jalaludin Roomi exclusively talking to Customs Today. He said that business community is going through severe economic crisis due to blackmailing of Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) and Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd for collection of excessive demuarrage and detention charges on clearance of shipments in these testing circumstances. Government is taking crucial and reformative steps to bring economic stability but above-mentioned shipping company and the terminal operator are spoiling business environment through blackmailing.
He said business community of South Punjab is facing severe crisis due to blackmailing of shipping companies and QICT and their corruption increased cost of business. South Punjab importers are already paying heavy freight charges for the shipments of import and export in ongoing crisis situation.
Khawaja Jalal Ud Din Roomi demanded from Prime Minister Imran Khan to revoke the restriction of axle load which may cause the price hike of essential commodities, increasing the cost of doing of business and adding to the miseries of common man. He said that Ministry of Communication has introduced the axle load law without any consideration under which a truck would only be allowed to bear the weight of 14 ton which was previously 28 tons. Schedule six of the ordinance has a load table, according to which trucks with two axles can carry 17.5 tonnes of goods, those with three axles can carry 27.5 tonnes, four axles 39.5 tonnes, five axles 48 tonnes and six axles 58.5 tonnes. The government’s initiative would double the transportation cost of goods which will directly affect the masses.
Khawaja Jalaludin Roomi said that increase in petroleum products every month is contributing in inflation. This initiative would further raise the prices of goods which would be heavy on everyone’s pocket and business community face would also face consequences for this policy. This would not only harm the exporters but also the domestic business holders. Once this law is enacted, 50,000 more trucks would be required for the transportation of goods that would add considerable cost and environmental hazards. There would be immediate requirement of more than 200 billion rupees besides increasing the petroleum bill and adding to air pollution.
He suggested that in order to maintain and secure the road network, government should upgrade the railway track and initiate the cargo trains which would be a cheaper mode of transportation for agricultural and other goods that will also proving relief to the public. He said this issue has to be addressed at earliest to secure the interests of industrialists, business class and general public. He said industrialists across the country rely on goods transporters to run their businesses, adding that the PM should personally look into the problems of the transporters and get them resolved at the earliest so economic activities continue without any interruption.
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 creating serious business crisis in the country for importers and exporters for the clearance of shipments. He said that shipping companies are robbing huge revenue from importers by offering them discount at the initial stage but when the shipment reached to port they detained shipments and demand additional charges besides their agreement and charged demurrage and detention without any reason. He said that shipping companies are collecting unfair demurrage or detention charges from importers by violating set laws. Axle restriction is also increasing business cost for business community and creating serious hurdles in clearance of shipment.
He demanded from government to take action against shipping companies and terminal operator who were involved in charging excess logistic charges and punish them under rules 603(q), 603(r), 604(p), 604(q) & 607(e), others under SRO 1220/2015.