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Govt urged to increase clearance days to resolve demurrage & detention issue: LCCI VP Zeeshan Khalil

Govt urged to increase clearance days to resolve demurrage & detention issue: LCCI VP Zeeshan Khalil

LAHORE: The government should increase the clearance days from four to eight or ten days to overcome the issues of demurrage and unlawful hidden charges by the shipping lines, terminal operators and agents mafia.

These views were expressed by Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Vice President Zeshan Khalil while talking to Customs Today at his office in Lahore.

He said what to talk about complaints regarding corruption, he himself is victimized by shipping companies, their agents and terminal operator. These companies are causing loss of billions of rupees to importers and the national exchequer.

He said that in many ways, the shipping industry is exposed to highest level of corruption than any other industry, adding that it’s a global industry that does not have a mature anti-corruption compliance and independent monitory system.

He said the SRO 1220 and Section 14A of Customs Act 1969 stated clearly that no demurrage or detention charges would be taken after issuance of ‘delay and detention certificate’ to importer by customs but corrupt shipping lines and terminal operator charge additional charges from importers which is against customs laws and rules.

He said this industry is traditionally very opaque and has made slow shift to transparency. The shipping lines and terminal operators take hidden charges from importers which are not even mentioned in the Customs Act.

He said the customs department needs to act upon recommendations to end corruption from shipping firms and discourage the evil forces causing Rs15 billion loss to the importers.

Zeeshan Khlil expressed grief over fraud of customs authorities and terminal operators for taking extra demurrage and detention charges from importers who import goods to Pakistan and are looted harshly by the evil lords present in shipping lines and terminal operators.

It is important to mention here that some importers have already filed 13 applications to lodge FIRs against these shipping lines and their agents including Deputy MD of Greenpak Abdul Rauf, CEO of United Marine Agencies Sohail Shams, COO PICT Khurram Aziz Khan and Chairman Marine Group Capt. Haleem Siddiqui, for demanding additional demurrage and detention charges and causing Rs 15 billion losses to importers per year.

sohail shams

CEO United Marine Agencies Sohail Shams

A complaint filed by importers said, “They, through their shipper/agents in China, handed the goods to KMTC Ltd. as trust to be delivered and released here at PICT, Karachi. The shipping lines nominated M/S United Marine Agencies (Private) Limited as their agents at Karachi for the same while the company PICT Ltd. took custody of the goods as trust at PICT port, Karachi. Importers also long back paid in full to the shipping lines the ocean freight charges as agreed between the parties. But despite repeated reminders and visiting office of M/S United Marine Agencies (Private) Limited and of PICT Ltd., they did not release the goods yet”.

Importers further said, “The actions of KMTC Ltd. through its owners, management and staff including but not limited to Jong Seug Park, Yong Hwa Shin, others and of M/S United Marine Agencies (Private) Limited through its owners, management and staff including but not limited to Manzoor Ahmed, Lars Tore Bergstrom, Lars Goran Safverstrom, Mohammad A Dhamee, Sohail Shams, Rishad Kirmani, Mohsin Lodhi, others and of PICT Ltd. through its owners, management and staff including but not limited to Haleem Siddiqui, Christian R. Gonzalez, Roman Felipe S. Reyes, Aasim Azim Siddiqui, Rafael D. Consing Jr., Gordon Alan P Joseph, Hans-Ole Madsen, Sharique Azim Siddiqui, Khurram Aziz Khan, Muhammad Hunain, Junaid Qureshi, Shujaat Hussain, others, individually and jointly, tantamount to conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating, mischief to cause losses, threatening, etc. which attract penal sections under PPC 34, 407, 409, 420, 427, 506, besides others.”

Haleem-Siddiqui

Haleem Siddiqui, Chairman Marine Group

In another similar complaint, “Importers firm, through their shipper, handed the goods to Evergreen Line as trust to be delivered and released to them here at PICT, Karachi. The shipping lines nominated M/S Greenpak Shipping (Private) Limited as their agents at Karachi for the same while the company PICT Ltd. took custody of the goods as trust at PICT port, Karachi. Importers also long back paid in full to the shipping lines the ocean freight charges as agreed between the parties. But despite repeated reminders and visiting office of M/S Greenpak Shipping (Private) Limited and of PICT Ltd., they did not release the goods yet”.

Importers said, “The actions of Evergreen Line through its owners, management and staff including but not limited to Chang Cheng-Yung, Chang Kuo-Hua, Chang Kuo- Ming, Ko Lee-Ching, Lee Mong-Jye, Hsieh Huey-Chuan, others and of M/S Greenpak Shipping (Private) Limited through its owners, management and staff including but not limited to Javed Iqbal, Mohammad Reza Ghaem Maghami, Safdar Hussain Mehkri, Syed Qamar ul Hasan, Abdul Hamid, others and of PICT Ltd. through its owners, management and staff including but not limited to Haleem Siddiqui, Christian R. Gonzalez, Roman Felipe S. Reyes, Aasim Azim Siddiqui, Rafael D. Consing Jr., Gordon Alan P Joseph, Hans-Ole Madsen, Sharique Azim Siddiqui, Khurram Aziz Khan, Muhammad Hunain, Junaid Qureshi, Shujaat Hussain, others, individually and jointly, tantamount to conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating, mischief to cause losses, threatening, etc. which attract penal sections under PPC 34, 407, 409, 420, 427, 506, besides others.”