KARACHI: Minstry of Maritime Affairs has decided to waive port demurrages and extend free time at ports, Vice President FPCCI Khurram Aijaz said. Minister Ali Zaidi announced that port demurrages charges would be waived by the ports till April 15, 2020. An official said that even after the issuance of official notification, port operators could go to court and obtain stay as it happened in past. To meet the challenge of the COVID - 19 challenge and to ensure that Port Operations continue unheeded and the supply service chain is not hindered Ministry of Maritime Affairs has taken the following measures : Essential supplies of Medical Equipment/ Medical Supplies and Protective Gear, Perishable items , Foodstuffs including Grains and Lentils , Pulses and Petroleum products is cleared by expeditiously and freight is despatched. To facilitate Exporters Port Authorities advised to reduce / waive terminal, linear, demurrage charges and to extend free time at ports. Ports have established hotlines for stevedores / exporters / importers to facilitate 24/7. Personnel involved in Port operations , PNSC and Customs got declared by Sindh Govt as Essential Services so that Port and maritime operations and shipping routes are kept open as 90 % of Pakistan’ s Trade is seaborne and to avoid any economic gridlock.