MULTAN: Chairman All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran Khawaja Muhammad Shafique appreciated the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for taking action against M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd, M/s Pacific International Lines (PIL) and its agents in Pakistan, M/s Pacific Delta Shipping (Pvt) Ltd in a mega scam of demurrage and detention worth billions.
He expressed that economic situation of the country is very critical and business community is also worried due to this negative environment and embezzlement at ports which disturbed the businesses of genuine importers due to illegal acts of a few shipping companies including M/s Maersk Pakistan and M/s PIL.
He hoped that the NAB will also take strict action against the dishonest staff of Customs department who blackmailed importers and caused unnecessary delay in the clearance of shipments without any reason. A few Customs officials are also involved in this scam as they create obstacles in the clearance of shipments to support the above-mentioned shipping lines for charging illegal detention and demurrage charges.
He said corruption at Ports by a few shipping companies for clearance of import shipments is not new for importers but they are also destroying the image of Pakistan abroad. Business community has raised their concerns over the corruption of these shipping companies after receiving complaints from importers but port authorities have not taken any stern action against them.
He said that genuine importers of South Punjab faced blackmailing of these shipping companies for the clearance of their legally imported shipments which charged unjustified demurrage charges and importers also faced a long intentional delay in clearance of their shipments which also cause them financial loss.
He said that National Accountability Bureau should form truth and reconciliation committee for collection of evidence against these shipping companies who are blackmailing and causing delay in clearance of shipments. It is unfortunate that above-mentioned shipping companies are collecting demurrage from the importer illegally even when he provides ‘delay and detention certificate. The NAB should also recover detention and demurrage charges collected from importers and violators should be brought to justice.
This is a good opportunity for port authorities to streamline their loopholes after this mega scam as they could bring reforms in the laws to avoid any incident in the future. The government should protect importers from excessive import logistics cost which affects and damages the economy. Business community believes that accountability of these shipping companies will restore the confidence of importers who faced blackmailing at ports for the clearance of shipments.
He suggested port authorities should regulate all shipping companies to end collection of exorbitant demurrage and detention charges from importers. All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran demanded from the NAB to recover all looted amount from shipping companies through fraudulence and deposit in the national exchequer to support the economy.