MULTAN: Government should take strict disciplinary action against shipping companies and terminal operators for non-compliance of their decision to waive demurrage and detention charges on import shipments. Shipping Companies are not ready to provide any relief in the clearance of shipment to import based traders and ignoring all decisions of government for extending the demurrage and detention period.
This was stated by President Quomi Tajir Ittehad South Punjab Sultan Mehmood Malik in his exclusive talk with Customs Today regarding the non-cooperation of shipping companies and terminal operators for collection of unfair demurrage and detention charges.
He stated that business community of South Punjab including industrialists importers and exporters is taking all safety measures recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to control the spread of Covid-19 and implementing the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) being devised by the Provincial and Federal government for import related traders and industrialist.
He said that government was taking Covid-19-related decisions on its own without taking input of the industrial and trade community, which created serious economic problems including the threat to sustainability of workers’ livelihood and cancellation of export orders due to delay in shipment of goods. He said that Pandemic CoronaVirus has stunned the economies of developed and under developed countries. Thousands of businesses have been damaged due to the lockdown and business conditions in the country were not in sound conditions due to inflation and high taxation policy. Pakistani exporters are already facing serious issues in competing global markets due to high taxation and energy cost.
Due to prolonged lockdown, a big inventory of raw material and import shipments were stuck at ports and shipping companies along with terminal operator are taking benefit of sudden lock down by charging additional demurrage and detention charges to importers and exporters. Business community of South Punjab has appealed from Federal Government to provide relief to importers and exporters by waiving demurrage and detention charges occurred due to lockdown. Government has announced that shipping companies will not any additional charges which were stuck during lock down period but shipping companies have refused to give any favour to importers and exporters. Shipping Companies are not ready to release their shipment without payment of holding charges. Furthermore, finished goods could not be shipped to the export.
Malik said that trader’s and importers of South Punjab unable to afford demurrage and detention charges compellingly charged by shipping lines and terminal operators due to closure of markets in the South Punjab. He said that cash line has been dried due to continuous closure of markets in the South Punjab and unable to fulfill imbalanced demand of shipping companies for payment of any additional charges. Several importers have shifted their consignments to private bonded warehouse to save further charges from terminal operators.
Government should implement their decisions through rule of law because shipping companies and terminal operators refused to provide any relief to importers at the time of clearance and demanded heavy charges in terms of detention and demurrage. He demanded of the government and ministry of maritime affairs to cancel operational license of those shipping companies and terminal operator which fail to comply government decisions.