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August 6, 2020

Shipping lines face mandatory indemnity bonds

Business

August 6, 2020

KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has proposed to make indemnity bonds mandatory for the shipping lines engaged in handling international transshipment cargo within the seaports in Pakistan to ensure goods are shipped out of the country without unnecessary delay, The News has learnt.

The FBR issued SRO 685(I)/2020 on Wednesday to recommend changes in Customs Rules, 2001.

The draft rules have been made available for stakeholders to get their feedback and would be made part the statute after 15 days.

According to the draft rules shipping lines intending to use the facility of international transshipment would be required to furnish an indemnity bond for an amount equal to the approximate value of goods expected to be imported in thirty days as security to ensure exit of goods outside the country within 30 days from the berthing of inward vessel.

It is also proposed that the indemnity bond would be forfeited apart from other consequential penal action under the Customs laws, if the shipping line misuses the facilitation of international transshipment.

The FBR said if goods still remained on the port after the expiry date including extended time allowed under the law, the shipping line would be responsible to remove the goods immediately unless the delay was attributed to the port authorities.

It further said, “The goods shall only be allowed for auction or destruction by approval of the concerned collector of customs who shall only allow it in extraordinary conditions where the shipping line shows its complete inability to ship them out.”

Further the shipping line would also be required to ensure complete details of Import General Manifest (IGM) to be fed in the customs computerised system.

As per amended rules, the shipping lines shall provide details included: port of loading; name of transshipment port of Pakistan; port of destination (final port of discharge at foreign destination); bill of lading number; name of foreign exporter; name of foreign importer; weight; seal number; and container number.

Customs sources said that the latest SRO was an effort to secure the movement of international cargo using Pakistan’s territory.

They said that many shipping lines were allegedly engaged in declaring false IGMs causing huge monetary losses to the country.

They said through proposed changes shipping lines would be responsible for any misdeclaration of imported goods used for international transshipment.

Last month the FBR also issued jurisdiction orders empowering Directorate General of Transit Trade (DGTT) to examine and scanning cargo related to transit trade and transshipment.