MULTAN: Ministry of Port and Shipping should take action against M/s Maersk Pakistan Pvt Ltd and M/s Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) for collection of illegal demurrage and detention charges on clearance of import shipments.
This was stated by Vice President Pakistan Helpers Business Council Chaudhary Muhammad Niaz while talking to Customs Today here the other day.
He said that business community has deep concern over sheer blackmailing of importers through collection of illegal demurrage and detention charges by Maersk Pakistan and QICT. He said that Pakistan Helpers Business Council was receiving complaints from importers against Maersk and QICT for collecting unjustified demurrage and detention charges through blackmailing.
He said that several importers and their clearing agents have raised issue of illegal demurrage and detention charges but the government has not yet taken any serious action against these companies. Importers have raised this issue at different business forums but Port and Shipping Ministry did not give any attention towards illegal demurrage and detention charges issue.
He said that majority of genuine importers are compelled to pay additional charges for the swift handling of import shipments to Maersk Pakistan and QICT, and if genuine importers refuse to pay illegal charges then they may face unnecessary delay in the clearance of import shipments. These undue charges from shipping companies like Maersk and QICT will increase their cost of business.
He said business community is already facing uncertain economic situation in the country due to devaluation of rupee and other issues. Government is doing its full efforts to catch the attention of foreign investors in the country and it is not possible without eliminating irregularities of shipping companies. Maersk and Qasim International Container Terminal are portraying negative image of country by collecting illegal demurrage and detention charges from importers and it will also put negative impact on government efforts to bring foreign investors in the country.
He said that shipping companies are creating hindrance for swift clearance of genuine shipments at the port and they are extorting importers for generation of their kickbacks by collecting illegal demurrage and detention charges. Government should take action against Maersk Pakistan and QICT for charging illegal demurrage and detention charges and this malpractice should be stopped to protect importers.
He demanded a strict action against Maersk and QICT for charging illegal demurrage and detention charges from genuine importers and the government should recover this amount from these companies and refund it to importers and business community.