KARACHI: Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has urged shipping lines to waive detention and other charges considering extraordinary situation due to coronavirus and lockdown.
To support the consignees in Pakistan during the ongoing difficult times, President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan 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 from March 10, 2020 up to May 31. 2020.
In separate letters sent to All Pakistan Shipping Association and Pakistan Ships’ Agents Association, President KCCI 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.
He informed that during the last few weeks, KCCI received a large number of representations from trade and industry which are facing heavy losses due to the exorbitant container detention charges by including shipping agents and representatives of shipping lines.
The losses are over and above those caused by a sharp decline in prices of various commodities and products which have been imported by these consignees, thus making it impossible to pay for the heavy detention and other penal charges demanded by the shipping agents and their principals.
Many such entities have been pushed to a situation of Force Majeure.
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.