KARACHI: Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has urged the Ministry of Maritime Affairs to get the port demurrage and container detention charges till May 31, 2020. In the letter to Ministry of Maritime Affairs, President KCCI Agha Shahab requested that instructions might be issued to Karachi Port Trust (KPT), Port Qasim Authority and private terminal operators to waive the port demurrage charges up to May 31, 2020; as well as directives to shipping lines and their agents in Pakistan, to waive container detention charges till May 31, 2020. “Stringent lockdown measures are being adopted in the country to prevent the spread of COVID 19 Coronavirus pandemic. Due to the restrictions on movement of transport, shorter banking hours, closure of all offices and unavailability of staff, it is not possible for all importers to pay customs dues and clear their cargo from the ports of Karachi and Port Qasim,” Agha Shahab noted. “As a result of lockdown, delays in clearance of cargo will incur heavy demurrage charged by port authorities and private terminal operators. Shipping lines will impose container detention charges alter the standard free time allowed. Consequently, the importers will suffer massive financial losses as a result of the lockdown and not because of their fault”. President KCCI said already the prices of various commodities had crashed in international market due to the pandemic of Corona virus and importers were in distress due to current emergency situation. Meanwhile, the Export Processing Zones Authority has advised all investors and industrial units in Export Processing Zone (EPZ) to suspend their industrial activities. Facilities engaged in manufacturing of health and safety products are allowed to operate provided they meet local and international requirements for prevention of Corona virus.