PESHAWAR: The shipping company Maersk Pakistan Pvt Ltd and Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) deliberately delay the clearance of goods to collect extra demurrage and detention charges and destroy domestic business. The importers in Peshawar condemned the brutal attitude of Maersk company and QICT for looting them by different tactics.
Peshawar based importer Asif Khan, managing director Abdul Samad Group, said this while talking with Customs Today recently about the decade long issue in which QICT and Maersk shipping line are charging extra demurrage and detention charges from importers.
He said Maersk shipping live, its subsidiary Maersk Pakistan (Private) Limited and Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) demand higher demurrage and detention charges by holding off clearance of imported goods using different tools.
Asif Khan further said that importers hugely suffer due to unavailability of goods as they lose credibility and reputation in the market. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa importers also suffer on the hands of slow Customs clearance of consignments imported through Maersk shipping line at Dry Port Peshawar despite delayed arrival of consignments from QICT.
He said Afghan trade and transit goods are always delayed and after taking 10 to 17 days containers are loaded in trucks for further travel from QICT. The transporters time is wasted and due to low profits importers are unable to pay them instantly. According to record when goods are delayed its quality deteriorates which leads to heavy losses because goods are not disposed of in markets on time.
According to SRO 1,220(I)/2015, shipping companies cannot charge any demurrage and detention fee where specifically it has not been agreed and also specifically not mentioned on the Bill of Lading. Section 14A of the Customs Act 1969 also says the importer cannot be forced to pay any demurrage or detention charges if the Customs gives a certificate to the importer called the “Delay and Detention Certificate”. Despite having the certificate, the importers’ goods are held “illegally for demanding heavy demurrage”.
He said Government, vide its certificate under Section 14A, had already advised not to charge importers any demurrage or detention fee.