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South Punjab importers express deep concern over blackmailing by shipping lines, PICT: President Multan Chamber

South Punjab importers express deep concern over blackmailing by shipping lines, PICT: President Multan Chamber

MULTAN: Business community of South Punjab expressed deep concern over blackmailing by shipping lines, their agents and terminal operator including Evergreen Line, GreenPak Shipping, United Marine Agencies, KMTC and PICT in connivance with customs staff. They are destroying business environment for genuine importers in the country by charging unfair demurrage and detention charges on import shipments. Newly-elected Govt must take immediate and firm action against corrupt shipping companies and Customs officials who are openly involved in the violation of SRO 1220 by deliberately hindering import shipments of genuine importers.

This was stated by President Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Malik Asrar Ahmad Awan while talking to Customs Today after scandalous disclosure of corruption by shipping companies, terminal operators and Customs officials.

He said it is an alarming situation for business community of whole country and it indicates backing of some corrupt customs officers, and Federal Board of Revenue should probe whole scam to redress grievances of genuine importers. He stated the Multan Chamber has been receiving frequent complaints against unnecessary delay in the clearance of their import shipments and additional charges taken by PICT and shipping lines under the head of demurrage and detention against the set law.

He said, “Corruption has become almost integral part of our economic activities and we have highlighted misuse of powers by several corrupt officials but authorities ignored the serious issue by ensuring that it will not happen again.”

He said that corruption has been penetrating in whole Customs department from top to the bottom and ‘we are surprised to know the techniques and tricks used by corrupt officials to deceive innocent importers for demanding kickbacks’. Majority of corrupt customs officials are serving at key positions in the department and it gives us impression that Federal Board of Revenue has given them free space for their corruption, he added.

He said that entire burden of revenue generation is being placed on the business community and country’s already-struggling industries as the government continuously fails to collect tax from tax evaders and money launderers. ‘We are knocking doors of IMF for financial aid to rescue our economy but these shipping companies, their agents and terminal operator are causing huge revenue loss to the national exchequer,’ he added.

He suggested that newly-elected government should bring reforms at large scale in the Customs clearance system to eradicate corruption and expedite import clearance to encourage genuine importers for progress of economy.

It is important to mention here that some importers have already filed 13 applications to lodge FIRs against these shipping lines and their agents including Deputy MD of Greenpak Abdul Rauf, CEO of United Marine Agencies Sohail Shams, COO PICT Khurram Aziz Khan and Chairman Marine Group Capt. Haleem Siddiqui, for demanding additional demurrage and detention charges from importers.

sohail shams

CEO United Marine Agencies Sohail Shams

 

A complaint filed by importers said, “They, through their shipper/agents in China, handed the goods to KMTC Ltd. as trust to be delivered and released here at PICT, Karachi. The shipping lines nominated M/S United Marine Agencies (Private) Limited as their agents at Karachi for the same while the company PICT Ltd. took custody of the goods as trust at PICT port, Karachi. Importers also long back paid in full to the shipping lines the ocean freight charges as agreed between the parties. But despite repeated reminders and visiting office of M/S United Marine Agencies (Private) Limited and of PICT Ltd., they did not release the goods yet”.

Importers further said, “The actions of KMTC Ltd. through its owners, management and staff including but not limited to Jong Seug Park, Yong Hwa Shin, others and of M/S United Marine Agencies (Private) Limited through its owners, management and staff including but not limited to Manzoor Ahmed, Lars Tore Bergstrom, Lars Goran Safverstrom, Mohammad A Dhamee, Sohail Shams, Rishad Kirmani, Mohsin Lodhi, others and of PICT Ltd. through its owners, management and staff including but not limited to Haleem Siddiqui, Christian R. Gonzalez, Roman Felipe S. Reyes, Aasim Azim Siddiqui, Rafael D. Consing Jr., Gordon Alan P Joseph, Hans-Ole Madsen, Sharique Azim Siddiqui, Khurram Aziz Khan, Muhammad Hunain, Junaid Qureshi, Shujaat Hussain, others, individually and jointly, tantamount to conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating, mischief to cause losses, threatening, etc. which attract penal sections under PPC 34, 407, 409, 420, 427, 506, besides others.”

Haleem-Siddiqui

Haleem Siddiqui, Chairman Marine Group

 

In another similar complaint, “Importers firm, through their shipper, handed the goods to Evergreen Line as trust to be delivered and released to them here at PICT, Karachi. The shipping lines nominated M/S Greenpak Shipping (Private) Limited as their agents at Karachi for the same while the company PICT Ltd. took custody of the goods as trust at PICT port, Karachi. Importers also long back paid in full to the shipping lines the ocean freight charges as agreed between the parties. But despite repeated reminders and visiting office of M/S Greenpak Shipping (Private) Limited and of PICT Ltd., they did not release the goods yet”.

Importers said, “The actions of Evergreen Line through its owners, management and staff including but not limited to Chang Cheng-Yung, Chang Kuo-Hua, Chang Kuo- Ming, Ko Lee-Ching, Lee Mong-Jye, Hsieh Huey-Chuan, others and of M/S Greenpak Shipping (Private) Limited through its owners, management and staff including but not limited to Javed Iqbal, Mohammad Reza Ghaem Maghami, Safdar Hussain Mehkri, Syed Qamar ul Hasan, Abdul Hamid, others and of PICT Ltd. through its owners, management and staff including but not limited to Haleem Siddiqui, Christian R. Gonzalez, Roman Felipe S. Reyes, Aasim Azim Siddiqui, Rafael D. Consing Jr., Gordon Alan P Joseph, Hans-Ole Madsen, Sharique Azim Siddiqui, Khurram Aziz Khan, Muhammad Hunain, Junaid Qureshi, Shujaat Hussain, others, individually and jointly, tantamount to conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating, mischief to cause losses, threatening, etc. which attract penal sections under PPC 34, 407, 409, 420, 427, 506, besides others.”