MULTAN: South Punjab traders of imported goods have shown grave concerns over the collection of unfair demurrage and detention charges on clearance of shipments amid Corona crisis in the country and demanded strict action against shipping companies and private terminal operators. Government should extend the free period of demurrage and demurrage up to 90 days and take strict action against those shipping companies which are defying clear directions in the current global crisis situation.
This was stated by Chairman All Pakistan Anjuman Tajiran Khawaja Muhammad Shafique while talking to Customs Today about unfair charging from Shipping companies and terminal operators.
He said that existing economic situation after prolonged lockdown has put country into financial disaster. Pakistan is facing huge economic crisis after CoronaVirus and importers are not in an ideal situation to pay additional demurrage and detention charges. Business Community of South Punjab shows severe concern over the critical economic crisis perpetrating due to the prolonged corona lockdown and said that Pakistan has entered into the severe economic crisis. The closure of markets nationwide has pushed down industrial output and impact importers the most. The entire supply chain has been disrupted due to current lockdown. Imports and exports are set to shrink due to ongoing Covid-19.
He said that corona related lockdown was started from March 24 and during last four weeks the government has taken commendable measures to contain the pandemic but without considering its side effect on our social and economic life. He told that in addition to the daily wage earners the white collared trading class is also now feeling the heat of continuous lockdown. He told that immediately after the lockdown, the business and industrial community had started their philanthropic activities and ration was provided to the unemployed daily wagers while industrialists have also announced to give full pay to their employees despite of the lockdown. Business situation has been terrible that it will mnot
He said that government has ordered the private terminal operators to extend free demurrages and detention period of the shipments but shipping companies are still charging unfair demurrage and detention charges. Now that the markets and businesses are closed due to the lockdown, traders are unable to take delivery of their consignments. “He demanded from government to waive one percent additional Customs duty along with surcharge on overstay of goods till June 30, 2020. He also demanded waiver of the surcharge already imposed on importers. Ports are already witnessing severe congestion as the importers are unable to take delivery due to closure of markets and containers are piling up in current challenging situation. But Shipping companies and port terminals are taking benefit of Corona Virus situation by charging unfair charges and compelling importers to pay additional charges.
He said that importers were blackmailed by shipping companies for the clearance of shipments and now importers are unable to pay them any additional charges due to shortage of liquidity. Traders of South Punjab will not pay any demurrage and detention charges to shipping companies and terminal operators. Government should intervened in the current situation to provide relief for the clearance of shipments without any holding charges and took action against those shipping companies who violated the law for making profits through charging unfair demurrage and detention charges.