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Private terminal operators agree to extend free time, assures KPT chairman

Private terminal operators agree to extend free time, assures KPT chairman

KARACHI: Chairman Businessmen Group, Vice Chairman KPT and Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, has expressed profound gratitude and deep appreciation for the support and cooperation extended by the Chairman Karachi Port Trust (KPT) Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar to the business community in resolving the complex issue of waiver of demurrage on import consignments charged by the private terminal operators. The long pending issue of accumulated demurrage charges on the containers and LCL cargo stuck at the private terminals at Karachi port was finally resolved with the intensive efforts by the Chairman KPT.

In a meeting convened and presided by Chairman KPT at KPT head office, the matter of demurrage charges incurred on import cargoes due to lockdowns was discussed between the stakeholders and resolved through the intervention of the Chairman KPT.

The meeting was attended by Chairman BMG Siraj Kassam Teli, President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Former SVP KCCI Ibrahim Kasumbi, KPT Trustee Yawar Badat and CEOs of all private terminals at Karachi.

The terminal operators and KCCI team led by Siraj Kassam Teli presented their viewpoints in order to resolve the issue of accumulated demurrage and enable the release of imported cargo before the approaching Eid holidays to avoid further accumulation of demurrage charges.

It may be recalled that the matter has been contested between importers and terminal operators for last several weeks because the private terminal operators were not extending the free storage time despite the approval of Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Federal Cabinet to allow additional 10 days of free storage of FCL and LCL cargo.

The terminals have been recovering heavy demurrage and detention charges from importers on all containers and LCL cargo which importers were unable to clear due to lockdowns imposed by the government to prevent the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus.

At the meeting, Siraj Kassam Teli reiterated that this is not the time for negotiations and bargaining, rather it is important to ensure that the trade and industry survives the unprecedented crisis which we all are facing.  In fact the Terminal Operators are a partner with trade and industry of Pakistan and now it is time for the terminal operators to extend a helping hand and support the economy of Pakistan.

Siraj Teli said that to counter the negative impact of COVID-19 on businesses many countries around the world are adopting relief measures and providing stimulus to save their economies from total collapse.  He therefore, urged that CEOs of Private Terminals to contribute their due share to revive Pakistan’s economy and  allow additional 10 days of free storage to consignees as approved by the KPT Board of Trustees, Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Federal Cabinet, which is not too much to ask.

In a very positive gesture, Chairman KPT Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar extended the offer to provide any extra space of KPT land for storage of containers if required by the terminal operators at no cost. Further he also assured the CEOs of private terminals to consider some concession in rental subject to approval by the Board of Trustees, during the period of 10 extra free days to be allowed by private terminals to the importers.

At this the terminal operators also demonstrated their willingness to help the consignees and agreed to allow the additional 10 days free time to consignees and complete the necessary formalities immediately so that cargo which is piled up at ports may be released.

Siraj Teli and KCCI team expressed their gratitude to the Chairman KPT and the CEOs of Private Terminals for their support and cooperation in resolving a very serious issue in an amicable manner.