ISLAMABAD  - A delegation of local importers visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry and expressed serious concerns over the accumulating demurrage and detention charges by ports authorities and shipping companies on cargoes lying since long at Karachi ports and called upon the government to consider giving one-time amnesty in such penalties for early clearance of these cargoes.

The delegation informed that many cargoes are held up at Karachi Port and Port Qasim for the last many years because due to unfavorable business environment during last three years, importers could not get cargoes cleared on time. Resultantly, the values of demurrage and detention charges on such stuck up cargoes have now exceeded their actual value and the importers are unable to get their clearance. Therefore, they urged that government should provide a one-time amnesty by waiving off demurrage & detention charges on all such stuck up commercial cargoes so that importers could get their early clearance.

Addressing the delegation members, Shaban Khalid, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said that Karachi Port Trust (KPT) had reduced free period of cargo clearance from 10 to five days with average dwell time in less than 7 days to reduce rush and make cargo handling smooth & efficient, but increase in stuck up cargoes at ports is foiling such efforts of KPT.

He said due to non-clearance of such cargoes, not only the importers are suffering huge losses; the government is also losing revenue of billions of rupees on account of sales tax, income tax, customs duty, excise duty and cargo handling charges while the stuck up cargoes are creating more congestion at the ports.

He said government should take urgent notice of this serious problem and consider giving one-time amnesty in demurrage & detention charges on all commercial cargoes lying since long at ports. He said it will be a win-win solution as it will not only facilitate the businessmen in early clearance of their consignments, it will also improve revenue generation for the government, reduce unnecessary congestion and lead to smooth handling of cargoes at the ports.