MULTAN: Importers are upset on collection of demurrage and detention collection through blackmailing by M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT). National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) should take strict action against M/s Maersk Pakistan and QICT for collecting illegal demurrage and detention charges to address complaints of importers. Collection of exorbitant demurrage and detention charges from genuine importers is spoiling peaceful business environment in the country.
This was stated by renowned businessman and former President Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association Mian Mahmood Ahmad while talking to Customs Today about illegal collection of demurrage and detention charges for clearance of import shipments.
He said that shipping industry played the pivotal role in national economy as all importers and exporters obtain facility of shipping companies for the clearance of their legal shipments. But few shipping companies are creating serious hurdles for the importers for the clearance of their legitimate shipments by charging them excessive demurrage and detention charges without any justification. 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 boost cost of business for the importers.
He said blackmailing of M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and Qasim International Container Terminal have forced importers to pay additional charges for the clearance of their shipments in wake of demurrage and detention charges and they have created serious obstacles in clearance of genuine shipments of importers. He expressed that shipping companies should be charged under violation of laws and they are responsible for robbing huge revenue from importers through their blackmailing.
He added that collection of demurrage and detention charges for the clearance of shipments without any specified agreement would be termed as criminal offense. Importers of South Punjab faced blackmailing of shipping companies for the clearance of their legitimate imported shipments and shipping companies charged baseless demurrage and detention charges, because they are threatened to face inappropriate delay in the clearance of their shipments if they do not pay extra demurrage and detention charges.
He said collection of excessive demurrage and detention charges from importers are indefensible act and these shipping companies are also spoiling business environment in the country which will also upset our national economy.
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 so M/s Maersk shipping line and Qasim International Container Terminal are illegally charging huge amount of demurrage and detention to importers and they are breaching set laws. He said that majority of genuine importers are compelled to pay extra money in shape of demurrage and detention charges for the swift handling of import shipments.
He demanded that National Accountability Bureau and Federal Investigation Agency should take strict action against shipping companies involved in collection of excess logistic charges under rules 603(q), 603(r), 604(p), 604(q) & 607(e), others under SRO 1220/2015 to protect importers from their blackmailing and recover looted amount from shipping companies under head of demurrage and detention charges to address grievances of genuine importers.