KARACHI: Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) President Abdullah Zaki has condemned the highhandedness of freight forwarders. He has also urged the government to establish an independent regulatory body to respond to the grievances of the business community. He added that the body should be directed to monitor the overall activities and excessive charges of freight forwarders.
He said this while speaking at the 1st meeting of Ports, Shipping and Multi-Modal Transport Sub-Committee of KCCI. He said that the business community is being victimized everyday by freight forwarders as KCCI has been receiving dozens of complaints pertaining to high charges under various heads.
The meeting was presided over by Chairman of Ports, Shipping and Multi-Modal Sub-Committee Asif Nisar. It was also attended by KCCI Vice President Muhammad Idrees, former vice president of KCCI Nasir Mehmood, senior Vice Chairman Ports & Shipping sub-committee Ansar Ali Khan, Advisor of the sub-committee, Anwar Shah and managing committee members including Zafar Saeed Baghpatee, Shehzad Mubeen, Zahid Iqbal, Pervez Ashfaq, Abid Nisar and others.
President KCCI, while assuring Chamber’s full support to the business community, said that KCCI will keep on raising its voice at various platforms until the desperately needed regulatory body comes into existence. “KCCI will strive hard to highlight the grievances being faced by businessmen and take up their issues with the concerned ministries and officers in order to get them resolved as per aspirations of the business community”, he added.
He also paid tribute to Asif Nisar for his untiring efforts in resolving issues arising due to goods transporters strike, which caused losses of millions of rupees to the business community. “It is due to KCCI’s and Asif Nisar’s untiring efforts that we succeeded in convincing the goods transporters to put an end to their strike and the government to resolve the grievances of goods transporters whose losses due to backlash after Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in 2007 were recently compensated by the government on KCCI’s intervention”, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, former vice president of KCCI Nasir Mehmood informed that the bill for setting up a regulatory body for monitoring the activities of shipping lines and freight forwarders etc. is in final stages, which is likely to be presented in the national assembly soon for approval. “Once approved it will certainly prove to be a milestone and provide relief to the depressed traders who are perturbed due to exorbitant charges”, he added.
Earlier, while welcoming the participants of the meeting, Chairman of Ports, Shipping and Multi-Modal Sub-Committee, Asif Nisar appreciated the leadership of Businessmen Group (BMG) for assigning him the challenging task to act as Chairman of Ports, Shipping and Multi-Modal sub-committee which is one of the most important committees of the KCCI.
Asif Nisar said that his sub-committee takes actions on complaints and cases received pertaining to Ports & Shipping and Transport by raising these issues with private organizations, government quarters and concerned officials in order to get them amicably resolved.
He asked KCCI members, who are facing issues with various organizations including Karachi Port Trust, Karachi International Container Terminal, Pakistan International Container Terminal and Qasim International Container Terminal, to share their grievances with KCCI in writing so that the concerned authorities could be approached for assistance.
Seeking KCCI members’ support to his sub-committee, Asif Nisar assured to make all-out efforts for effectively tackling and resolving various issues related to sub-committee.
Advisor of the sub-committee, Anwar Shah while touching upon his long association with KCCI since his retirement assured to continue his full support to KCCI members in effectively dealing and resolving ports and shipping related issues.
The meeting participants asked KCCI office bearers to urge shipping lines and freight forwarders to remain functional on Saturdays so that the business community could be able to benefit from the recent decision of the government to keep the clearing houses open on Saturday. Due to closure of banks along with Shipping Lines and freight forwarders, the business community is unable to fully benefit from the functioning of clearing house on Saturday.
The meeting participants also raised deep concerns over unjust tactic of transferring pay orders to bank accounts which are submitted by traders as security against containers. They also expressed deep concerns over delay in refunds of these funds which takes more than a month. They pointed out that this security deposit against containers varies from Rs 50,000 to Rs 100,000 which must be made uniform and a specific slab should be defined. The pay orders submitted as security deposit for containers should be retained and should not be transferred to bank accounts, they advised.