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SRO 1220(I)/ 2015 violation: Customs asked to cancel license of Marine Group, Evergreen, Greenpak, KMTC, United Marine

SRO 1220(I)/ 2015 violation: Customs asked to cancel license of Marine Group, Evergreen, Greenpak, KMTC, United Marine

KARACHI: Shipping lines and their agents who are harassing and blackmailing importers to get additional demurrage and detention charges should face law of court as their demands are sheer violation of the Customs Act and SRO 1220(I)/ 2015.
Sources said licenses of these shipping lines and their agents including Marine Group, Evergreen, Greenpak, KMTC and United Marine might be cancelled after lodging FIRs for breaching SRO 1220(I)/ 2015 and important Section 14A of the Customs Act, 1969 which says the port (like PICT port) cannot charge any demurrage or detention charges if Customs already issued a certificate ‘delay and detention certificate’ to importer.
Sources said shipping companies and their agents could not demand any additional demurrage and detention charges if it is not agreed with importers. Law under SRO 1220(I)/ 2015 explains that shipping companies cannot charge any demurrage and detention where specifically it is not agreed and also specifically not mentioned on the B/L (Bill of lading).
Importers further revealed that another section 14A of the Customs Act, 1969 says the port (like PICT port) cannot charge any demurrage or detention charges if Customs gives a certificate to importer called the ‘delay and detention certificate’. But despite this certificate, PICT illegally holds goods of importers and charges them heavy amounts as demurrage.
As per section 604 of SRO 1220(I)/ 2015, the licensing authority (customs) may cancel or refuse to renew license of these shipping companies and agents if they found:

  • the licensee is involved in criminal cases, established through conviction under any law for the time being in force;
  • or the licensee has violated any applicable law including the provisions of the Act and rules made thereunder or acted in a dishonest manner;
  • or the previous record of business showed involvement of licensee in any of the offenses mentioned in the Act.
  • The license would be cancelled if the licensee has in the course of its customs business, with intent to defraud, in any manner, willfully or knowingly deceived, misled or threatened any client.

Sources said these shipping companies and their agents with connivance of PICT are robbing businessmen to the tune of Rs 15 billion per year under additional demurrage or detention charges, openly violating the customs laws.

As per details, 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.”

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.”

Importers told Customs Today that they give goods as trust (amaanat) to the shipping lines but these companies hold their ‘amaanat’ illegally and blackmail them to pay heavy amounts of charges and thus these shipping lines & agents make good wealth through criminal means.
FIRs should be lodged against these shipping lines and their agents for violating SRO 1220(I)/ 2015 and Section 14A of the Customs Act, 1969, and Customs authorities after thorough investigation should cancel licenses of these violators of Customs law.