LAHORE: Port and shipping related issues of Pakistani importers and exporters would be resolved on priority basis.
These views were expressed by Minister of State of State for Ports & Shipping Chaudhry Jaffer Iqbal while talking to LCCI President Abdul Basit, Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa and Vice President Muhammad Nasir Hameed Khan at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Aftab Ahmed Vohra, Awais Saeed Piracha, Ali Hassam Asghar and LCCI members were present on the occasion.
“I will act as facilitator to the business community as no country can move forward without their due role,” the minister of state said and added that the ports charges will be reviews and reduced while company-to-company shipping charges will also be balanced.
He accepted that lack of professionalism exists at Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and a lot of improvement is needed. He said that situation at Port Qasim is far better but initiatives for improvement are well on the way. He said that issue of mishandling of consignment at Karachi Port Trust will be addressed at the earliest. He informed the participants second terminal of LNG will be in working condition by November of this year.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Abdul Basit said that liaison of the ministry with the up-country businessmen will help trust building and resolve the issues in shortest time.
He said that ports charges are adding to the cost of doing business as these are 14 percent high from Dubai Port, 8 percent from Singapore and even higher than the Indian ports. There is also company-to-company shipping charges difference that is also creating problems. He suggested that container tariffs for all companies should be equal while code of ethics should also be same for shipping lines.
He said that a number of LCCI members have complained that their consignments are being mishandled at Karachi Port by the concerned authorities. He said that careless attitude occurring huge financial loss to the exporters as buyers refused consignments or deduct because of torn packing or bad condition of merchandise. He said that modern scanners should be installed to avert such losses.
Abdul Basit said that business community has to pay demurrage charges because of sluggish process at dry ports release. This process should be expedited and at least seven days should be given to the business community in this regard. He said that official, private or commercial vessels should be treated equally for berthing at port. He also called for implementation of container security system. He said that shipping companies should also be directed to reimburse deposited security at the earliest at delay of 2-3 months causes lack of working capital.