LAHORE - Pakistan FMCG Importers Association has urged the government to table ‘Service Provider Regulatory Bill 2012’ in the Parliament at the earliest, which is aimed at setting up a single regulatory body to check performance of shipping lines and save importers from various hassles.

In a joint letter written to Minister of State for Port & Shipping Jaffer Iqbal, Pakistan FMCG Importers Association’s Vice Chairman Muhammad Ejaz Tanveer, Secretary General Ali Mattoo and Joint Secretary Zeeshan Saleem claimed that the draft bill was prepared in year 2012 with the joint efforts of all the stakeholders under the umbrella of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce. Nevertheless, it is awaiting its approval from the National Assembly since then,’ they regretted.

Throwing light on other problems of the importers, they suggested that the government should strive to bring down the rates of security, deposited by the importers/exporters with the shipping line besides making it uniform for all shipping lines. They also urged for early refund of these security deposits after clearance of the container or adjustment of these charges against the new container. Shipping companies are taking 15 to 30 days for refunding these charges which is too long a period, they added in the letter.

They also called for creating new terminals/births as containers had to wait for many days on account of non-availability of space on birth, which not only waste time but shipping lines also charge port demurrages adding burden on importers. Food items importers, being food stuff as perishable item, face more serious challenges because of such situation, they claimed.

Several hours are wasted in getting Gate Pass or Delivery Order (DO) because of shortage of staff or inexperience of staff posted for this purpose by the shipping lines so the Government should setup an Authority to check the performance of the Shipping Lines, the pleaded.

Pakistan FMCG Importers Association also called for making it binding on the shipping lines to observe working hours from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on six days of the week. They also urged the government to put a stop on receiving hidden charges or dirty demurrages from the importers by shipping lines.