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Maersk, QICT blackmailing importers to collect illegal demurrage, detention charges: Advocate Azhar

Maersk, QICT blackmailing importers to collect illegal demurrage, detention charges: Advocate Azhar

MULTAN: Collection of illegal demurrage and detention charges from genuine importers through blackmailing by M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) breaches set laws and also creates serious economic problems in the country. National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and FIA should take severe action against said shipping company and terminal operator to restore confidence of importers.

This was stated by Advocate Mian Muhammad Azhar while talking to Customs Today about irregularities of M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT).

He said that business situation of country is deteriorating with every passing day due to massive corruption and harassment by Maersk Pakistan and QICT. Said shipping company and terminal operator are also involved in the mega sales tax evasion through connivance of Sindh Revenue Board and they are also responsible for diverting foreign investments due to their blackmailing and harassment.

He stated that Maersk Pakistan and QICT are blackmailing for charging illegal demurrage and detention charges from genuine importers and it should be stopped for the formation of friendly trade environment in the country. Those shipping companies which are violating set rules and laws of government and involved in mega sales tax evasion, their shipping license must be cancelled for violation of SRO 1220(I)/ 2015 in order to protect the genuine importers.

He said that shipping companies are causing hurdles for clearance of genuine shipments at the port for generation of kickbacks and they are extorting every importer by collecting illegal demurrage and detention charges. Said shipping companies and terminal operator are looting importers by charging illegal demurrage and detention charges and also evading billions of due sales taxes by issuing benaami bills to clients to yield illegal economic benefits.

He alleged that genuine importers are facing huge harassment at large scale for clearance of their shipments which compel them to pay additional demurrage and detention charges, otherwise they have to face unnecessary delay in the clearance of their shipments.

It is really unfortunate that shipping companies and terminal operators are openly violating set procedures and laws by collecting excess demurrage and detention charges because according to rule they are not allowed to collect any sort of demurrage and detention charges from the importer when the importer provides ‘delay and detention certificate’ under section 14 A of the Customs Act, 1969. According to rules 603 (Q), 603 (R), 604 (Q) and 607 (E), others of SRO 1220 (I)/2015, shipping companies cannot charge any demurrage and detention where it is specifically written on the bill of lading. Said shipping companies are also responsible for spoiling business environment in the country which also upsets our national economy.

He demanded from National Accountability Bureau to take severe action against M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT ) for looting genuine importers in the country.