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Maersk, QICT blackmailing for collection of unjustified demurrage, detention charges: Advocate Kashif Kareem

Maersk, QICT blackmailing for collection of unjustified demurrage, detention charges: Advocate Kashif Kareem

MULTAN:Blackmailing of Shipping Company M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and Qasim International Container terminal (QICT) for the collection of unjustified demurrage and detention charges has seriously disturbed legitimate trade of importers and national economy has suffered huge loss due to their corruption.

Said shipping company and terminal operator have misplaced the image of port and trust of importers over the collection of illegal charges of demurrage and detention on clearance of shipments. National Accountability Bureau and Federal Investigation Agency must take strict action against said shipping company and terminal operator involved in the collection of unfair detention and demurrage charges from importers to redress their complaints.

It was stated by Advocate Kashif Kareem Khan while talking to Customs Today. He said that Pakistan is facing enormous economic challenges due to widespread money laundering, tax evasion, mismanagement of resources and corruption in the country along with current account deficits and absence of foreign investment. Shipping industry played the pivotal role in national economy as all importers and exporters obtain facility of shipping companies for the clearance of their legal shipments. But few shipping companies are creating serious hurdles for the importers for the clearance of their legitimate shipments by charging them excessive demurrage and detention charges without any justification.

According to law, shipping lines are not allowed to collect any demurrage and detention amounts from the importer when the importer provides ‘delay and detention certificate’ under section 14 A of the Customs Act, 1969. But shipping companies are breaching set laws and procedure for the collection of illegal charges and blocked the shipments in case of refusal from importers for the payment of heavy bribe on the name of demuarrage and detention charges. Heavy demurrage and detention charges enhance the cost of business for the importers.

He said that blackmailing of shipping company M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and terminal operator Qasim International Container terminal (QICT) has reached to its peak due to lack of accountability. Unfortunately corruption of shipping company M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and QICT has impacted badly as it caused huge financial loss to national exchequer.

He said that government should adopt zero tolerance policy against corruption in the country to restrain corruption from shipping industry otherwise importers will stop clearance of their import shipments and prefer illegal ways like smuggling. Business community and importers are always ready to pay reasonable taxes to government but shipping companies are robbing huge revenue from importers in shape of demurrage and detention charges without any logic. He said that there is no check and balance on the shipping companies and it is best opportunity for institutions to implement accountability laws on shipping companies to stop their corruption practices.

He said that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) should take stern action against M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd. and Qasim International Containers Terminal for their shocking irregularities and recover all looted amount from them to provide relief to affected importers.