MULTAN: Shipping Companies should waive demurrage and detention charges for the revival of sick industry and government should provide relief to importers and exporters through waiver of shipping charges.
Business community of South Punjab is facing severe hardships due to unfair demurrage and detention charges from shipping companies and terminal operators and businessmen are passing through difficult phase due to on-going pandemic corona virus and it has shut down business activities nationally and globally.
It was stated by President Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Fazal Elahi in his exclusive talk with Customs Today in his office regarding unfair demurrage and detention charges from business community.
He insisted all shipping lines and their agents in Pakistan to give complete waiver of detention charges and demurrage charges under other heads on all consignments that landed from March to 31st May 2020.
He said that Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) sent letter to Ministry of Maritime Affairs and pointed out that shipping companies should provide relief to business community in the present extra-ordinary situations.
Shipping lines and their agents have huge moral and ethical responsibilities to extend relief to the consignees and waive the entire detention charges and any other penalties or charges on FCL and LCL consignments to facilitate clearance and delivery of cargo to the.
“It is important to mention that the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and KPT have also approved the waiver of port demurrage and allowed additional 10 days of free period for the imported cargoes.
President MCCI Shiekh Fazal Elahi said that unfortunately due to lockdown in the provinces including South Punjab accumulated detention charges importers are unable to clear their shipments”.
He said that due to the lockdown during the months of March and April 2020 imposed by the government to prevent outspread of coronavirus pandemic, many importers have not been able to clear the import cargoes within the stipulated free detention period allowed.
Therefore, importers have been imposed very huge amounts of detention and demurrage charges which the consignees are unable to pay and due to lockdown and suspension of traffic at Highway also piled up a large number of containers at the ports.
MCCI has received a large number of requests from business communities of South Punjab which are facing heavy losses due to the exorbitant demurrage and detention charges charged by shipping lines and terminal operators. He informed that business community could not afford any holding charges from shipping companies as their businesses facing worst situation. When business community has not enough liquidity for the payment of salaries to their employees how they will afford additional charges in shape of demurrage and detention charges.
The business conditions of South Punjab importers and manufacturers are in worse after cancellation of export orders from Europe and other countries which also caused huge losses to manufacturing industry and employment of thousands of employees on stake due to increasing losses and now sharp decline in prices of various commodities and products which have been imported by these consignees, thus making it impossible to pay for the heavy detention and demurrage charges demanded by the shipping agents and terminal operators.
He stressed that it is time shipping companies back consignees in a worse situation where the entire global economy is passing through an unprecedented crisis and all business entities in Pakistan are incurring heavy losses as a consequence of extra-ordinary circumstances.
He demand that government should take strict action against those shipping companies which refuse to provide relief to importers and charged unfair demurrage and detention charges in the pandemic situation.