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Govt decides to waive demurrage charges for stuck containers

Maritime minister says the decision was taken in view of the hardships of business community

By Tanveer Malik
January 20, 2023

KARACHI: The government has decided to exempt the stuck-up containers at ports from demurrage charges and also minimise detention charges of the terminals to facilitate the business community.

Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Faisal Sabzwari announced it on Thursday via his Twitter handle, after the importers repeatedly complained about non-clearance of imported cargoes at the country’s ports amid a scarcity of foreign exchange to settle the letter of credits (LCs) by banks.

In his tweet, the minister said the decision was taken in view of the hardships of business community after their containerised imported cargoes were stuck up at the ports for the last several weeks.

“The economy can be stabilised by providing relief to the business community,” he said, adding that the officials of the ministry would hold consultations with representatives of business community for more measures in that regard.

Reacting to the announcement by the minister, the business community showed resentment, saying the decision would not resolve their problems as more than 95 percent imported cargoes had been stuck up at the private terminals and it was yet to be seen how the government would deal with those private terminals.

“The real issue rests with the private terminals as very little cargoes have been stuck up at the government terminals,” Vice President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Shabir Mansha told The News.

He said the situation would be cleared when the policy was elaborated in detail.

The stuck-up containers carrying imported cargoes have been a source of concern for the importers when the banks refused to settle LCs on account of shortage of dollars after the government decided to settle LCs of only essential items like petroleum products, edible oil, etc.

The business community even came hard on the State Bank of Pakistan governor on the matter of stuck-up containers when he visited the FPCCI and Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry a day earlier.