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March 6, 2021

‘Port terminals run by private sector’

Business

March 6, 2021

LAHORE: Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi on Friday said that though ports in Pakistan fell under the ministry’s domain, terminals had been handed over to the private sector on long lease.

Speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Zaidi said, “The lease deals apparently favour operators, but since the lease period is for 10-15 years, the government cannot force them to reduce handling charges or waive off demurrage.”

The government had waved off the demurrage on goods stocked at its premises during Covid-19, but could only request the private sector handlers, he said, adding that some granted few concessions to the businessmen and some did not.

To avoid charges and excessive demurrages, he urged businessmen to join hands and acquire their own ships to move goods to and from Pakistan. He also offered waiver of all import duties to ships registered in the country.