KARACHI: Thousands of import containers are stuck up at various port terminals either, waiting for clearance or cargo auction and both the carriers and terminal operators incur heavy losses in term of space and non-utilization of equipment, this was disclosed by the spokesman of Pakistan Shipping Association (APSA) here on Monday.
While referring to a report that importers are suffering due to non-clearance of containers at ports, he said that regrettably no one is paying any heed to resolve this issue pending for last more than a decade and as per available statistics, there are also several hundred “Fully Released” containers lying dumped at the terminals which are being used as storage yards for these fully released containers.
APSA has expressed its great concerns and categorically rejected all the allegations leveled against its members and shipping industry as a whole, related to demurrage and detention charges. These allegations are malicious and defamatory, based on false and distorted information and baseless for vested interests.
APSA, the representative body of shipping lines, terminal operators, stevedores, off-dock terminals and ICDS (Dry-Ports) and are law abiding entities and key stakeholders for contributing not only major share of tax to the national exchequer but also plays a vital role in Pakistan’s economic growth by facilitating import / export trade of the country. It handles almost 75% of containerized cargo of Pakistan, has further declared that any malpractice or collection of illegal charges by its members including PICT or there exists any connivance between carriers, terminal operators and Pakistan Customs. It has also condemned the discreditable allegations imposed by the negative characters.
APSA spokesman said that there is no role of the carriers or terminal operators for delaying or releasing of the goods after its discharge. Containers are kept at terminals for customs clearance and delivery is taken by importers as per their own convenience. He added that the stance of its members that tariff would always be collected from merchant as agreed under contract of carriage terms and conditions in accordance with international practices.
Carriers and terminal operators are private entities and they incur cost if container remains dumped at terminal for longer period after its discharge pending customs clearance; however, they are providing free days to its customers to facilitate them to complete the custom process/clearance without their contractual obligation.
Demurrage Charges, after lapse of the free period, are being collected around the globe and by all port authorities including KPT and PQA if cargo is discharged at conventional berths outside the terminals as it is an established international norm of practice.