MULTAN: Collection of exorbitant demurrage and detention charges from genuine importers of South Punjab by Maersk Line and its subsidiary in Pakistan is open violation of laws and their license should be cancelled under SRO1220 (I)/2015.
This was stated by senior member and former General Secretary Multan Tax Bar Association (MTBA) Muhammad Imran Ghazi the other day while talking exclusively with Customs Today.
He said that extortion of Maersk Line for collection of demurrage and detention charges from importers is intolerable as importers are facing obstacles in clearance of their shipments due to their blackmailing. Collection of demurrage and detention charges from importers without any specified agreement is unfair.
He said that tax consultants have been constantly receiving complaints against these shipping lines and their agents involved in taking unjustified demurrage and detention charges from importers of South Punjab for the clearance of shipments. Importers of South Punjab are facing blackmailing of shipping companies for clearance of their legally imported shipments as shipping companies charge unjustified demurrage and detention charges.
Illegal collection of demurrage and detention charges creates alarming situation in the country and importers are usually trapped by offering low rates by the agents of Maersk shipping line at the initial stage but when the shipment reaches Karachi, they don’t release the goods and charge additional demurrage and detention without any reason to generate financial paybacks.
He said that shipping companies cannot charge any demurrage and detention where specifically it is not agreed and also specifically not mentioned on bill of lading but Maersk Line and its subsidiary Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd is violating set laws and regulations. Shipping Company and port authorities cannot charge any demurrage or detention charges if Customs provides a delay and detention certificate to importers but reportedly even with this certificate Shipping Company M/s Maersk shipping line is illegally charging demurrage amount to genuine importers and they are breaching laws.
He asked the newly elected government of Pakistan to take special measures for protection of importers and the economy of this import-dependent country. He said that federal government is responsible for regulations of shipping companies and it’s their prime responsibility to protect importers from exorbitant demurrage & detention charges.
He suggested that government should take action against shipping companies involved in excess logistic charges should be punished under rules 603(q), 603(r), 604(p), 604(q) & 607(e), others under SRO 1220/2015 which includes penalty and also cancellation of license.
It is pertinent to mention here that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) received a complaint seeking probe to ascertain role of employees of Maersk Line in country’s biggest shipping scandal involving 610 billion rupees.
Importers lodged application against Maersk Line and its subsidiary in Pakistan Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd for conspiracy, cheating and criminal breach of trust under PPC 407, 409, 420, 427, 506 and others so that these fraudsters are stopped to blackmail genuine importers by demanding ‘illegal’ additional charges.
The complaint received by the NAB and the FIA demanded legal action for recoveries of amounts looted and recovering losses of Rs. 610 billion to the national exchequer per year while also stopping such further losses from the accused persons of Maersk Line and M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd including Søren Skou, Claus V. Hemmingsen, Søren Toft, Vincent Clercp, Morten H. Engelstoft, others of Maersk Line and Arslan Khan, Hazanfar Khan, Raheel Salim, Maqsood Ul Hasan Khan, Fuad Khan, Hasan Faraz, Shakeel Masih, Omer Khan, Ali Jawad Alvi, Zafar Iqbal, Ayesha Chowdhry, Zahid Hussain, Salman Ahmad, Aamir Ali, Umais Aziz Khan, Mohammed Naeem, Farheen Mahmud, Mubasshar Iqbal, Affaq Syed, Syed Mohammad Abbas Jafri, Muhammad Tanveer Sharif, Salman Ateeq, Hamza Haq, Ziad Mahboob, Aamir Ibrahim, Yasir Saeed Khan, Amal Sadiq Dawood, Effat Mehmood, Maria Urooj, Zain Warsi, Mehreen Zulfiqar, Awais Saleem, Zafar Iqbal, Syed Osman Iqbal Zaidi, Anum Yaqub, Fahad Ali, Obaid Iqbal, Zahid Hussain, Muhammad Ali Qureshi, Danish Siddiqui, Amir Arif, Arshad Ayub, Syed Mudassir Ali, Syed Hammad Hussain, Ayesha Qadri, Sheikh Samiullah, others of M/S Maersk Pakistan Private Limited.