KARACHI: The coronavirus-led lockdown has led to a piling up of import containers at the ports as importers are facing difficulties to submit essential documents to get their consignments cleared because of transportation problems.
An official at the Port Qasim said that the importers were not filing goods declarations – a document that initiates the assessment and clearance process – because they did not have the transport available to take the goods to their main destination.
“A large number of imported consignments are meant for upcountry, which are now piling up at port terminals due to absence of transportation,” the official said.
The port usually handles around 10,000 containers every day. However, the number has decreased by 30%. Despite the drop more than 6,000 containers are still landing at the ports each day, and not all of them are being cleared.
The official said traffic of vessels has slowed down, but the cargo is still coming. “There is no space at the terminal yards, and containers are now being dumped wherever the space is available,” the official said and added, “There is no marking or recordkeeping of these containers. After the lockdown is lifted, there would be a whole lot of mess in finding and assessing these containers.”
An official at Karachi Port Trust said the port is operating efficiently. “Essential goods are being cleared and transported, while the non-essential goods are being stored separately to be cleared later.”
Government has extended the timeline for filing of goods declarations (GDs) to 25 days, which earlier was 10 days from the date of cargo arrival.