Importers demand waiver of demurrage charges at private terminals

By Tanveer Hashmi
January 28, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Importers on Friday hailed a government’s decision to waive demurrage charges, but asked for measures to ensure the waiver at the private terminals also, where thousands of containers are stuck due to non-opening of letters of credit (LCs).


They also complained that despite issuance of a notice by the government to waive the demurrages, the importers were still being charged at Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and Port Qasim at even government terminals.

The ministry of Maritime Affairs recently announced to waive the demurrage charges in a bid to give a relief to the importers whose thousands of containers had been stuck at Karachi ports on delays in LCs by banks amid lack of foreign reserves and a shortage of US dollar.

However, importers said the majority of containers were stuck at private terminals.

They also asked the government to do measures to get the detention charges eased by the shipping lines.

When contacted, officials at the ministry said they had issued the orders to waive the demurrage at the terminals. Private terminals and shipping lines had also assured to give relief to the importers in terms of port charges, they added.

A source related to the ministry informed that the waiver notice was related to only KPT and Port Qasim. A meeting was also held in Karachi about demurrage and detention charges of the stuck containers on government and private terminals, where it was told to waive the charges for the containers that had been stuck because of delays in LCs, he added.

The Maritime Affairs ministry in a notification on January 25 asked the KPT and Port Qasim Authority to give up demurrage and detention charges for the stuck containers, saying the importers were having to bear huge port charges and many factories and industries were facing a liquidity crunch, which might lead to massive layoffs. Syed Muhammad Tariq Huda, Additional Secretary In charge, Ministry of Maritime Affairs, told that they had also asked the private terminals to waive demurrage charges for the containers that were stuck due to the LCs issue.