Pakistan apex trade body – Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) has urged all shipping lines and their agents in Pakistan to give total waiver of detention charges and any penalties or charges under other heads on all consignments that landed at Karachi Port and Port Qasim from 10th March 2020 up to 31st May 2020. This will facilitate clearance of cargoes piled at ports.
President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan in separate letters sent to All Pakistan Shipping Association and Pakistan Ships’ Agents Association, has pointed out that in the present extra-ordinary circumstances, the shipping lines and agents have a moral and ethical responsibility to extend relief to the consignees and waive the entire detention charges and any other penalties or charges on FCL and LCL consignments, to facilitate clearance and delivery of cargo to the consignees. “It is important to mention that the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and KPT have also approved the waiver of port demurrage and allowed additional 10 days of free storage for the imported cargoes. But unfortunately due to accumulated detention charges importers are unable to clear their containers”, he added.
He said that due to the lockdown during the months of March and April 2020 imposed by the government to prevent the spread of coronavirus pandemic, many importers have not been able to clear the import cargoes within the stipulated free detention period allowed. Consequently, very large amounts of detention charges and penalties have accumulated which the consignees are unable to pay, while also a large number of containers have piled up at the ports.
Agha Shahab further noted with deep concern that the same shipping lines have voluntarily extended concessions and relief to their clients in India while they have refused to allow any concession to consignees based in Pakistan.
He was of the opinion that Pakistan’s shipping trade has been a lucrative source of income for shipping lines who have earned decent profits from this market for many years. “It is time they support the consignees in a situation where the entire global economy is passing through an unprecedented crisis and all business entities in Pakistan are incurring heavy losses as a consequence of extra-ordinary circumstances”, he stressed.