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‘Govt should stop blackmailing of Maersk, QICT to facilitate genuine importers’

‘Govt should stop blackmailing of Maersk, QICT to facilitate genuine importers’

MULTAN: The government should regulate all shipping companies to stop them from demanding illegal demurrage and detention charges from importers on clearance of shipments. Blackmailing of shipping companies especially M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and M/s Qasim International Container terminal (QICT) is portraying negative image of the country.

It was stated by Chairman All Pakistan Power Looms Association (APPLA) Abdul Khaliq Qandeel Ansari while talking to Customs Today about blackmailing of above-mentioned shipping companies.

He said shipping industry played the crucial role in national economy as all importers and exporters take facility of shipping companies for the clearance of their legal shipments. Power loom industry is also an important segment of the textile industry of the country which avails the clearance facilities of shipping companies, but power loom industry is facing a great crisis which has forced factory owners to shut their looms due to power shortages and increase in the business cost. The production of machine-made garments was a benefit for local industry and it was assisting textile sector but China and other markets have affected power looms industry.

He said that government could not deny the importance of power looms as “spinning sector” exists with up-to-date technology in the form of medium and large-scale units, adding the “weaving” and value-added sub-sectors are small ones with a technological gap. The non-mill weaving, power loom sector, supplies the majority of the fabric and indirectly exports total fabric production of about 16 billion square meters and 65% of this production comes from the power loom sector.

But importers and exporters of power looms face blackmailing for payment of additional charges for the sake of demurrage and detention charges by M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and M/s Qasim International Container terminal (QICT) during import of their raw material and machinery parts.

He expressed that collection of illegal demurrage and detention charges by the shipping lines including M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and M/s Qasim International Container terminal (QICT) has increased manufacturing cost of local industrialists.

He added that importers of Power Looms and others are suffering heavy losses each day because of delay in release of imported goods due to unnecessary delay in clearance of shipments by M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and M/s QICT for illegal collection of detention and demurrage charges.  Said shipping company and terminal operator are causing serious business complications for the importers by blackmailing them for the collection of unfair demurrage and detention charges against the law because Customs has issued detention and demurrage certificates to importers for specific period but these shipping companies are violating law and regulations by collecting exorbitant charges. According to SRO 1220(I)/ 2015 and important Section 14-A of the Customs Act, 1969, officials cannot charge any demurrage or detention charges after issuance of certificate from Customs Department.