KARACHI: Several container terminals have announced extension in import demurrage free period by five additional days, as the aggressive spread of COVID- 19 and lock down in various parts of the country slowed down deliveries. Pakistan International Container Terminal (PICT), in order to further support the trade due to lock down and logistics challenges, has extended demurrage free period from existing five days to ten days on import containers of vessels arrived between March 20, 2020 to April 06, 2020. “The above facilitation will help the trade to move their consignments from the port without attracting additional demurrages during the above period,” a circular issued by PICT noted. Earlier, PICT waived all its charges on import container pertaining to hand sanitizers, surgical gloves, protective masks and COVID testing kits. DP World, the operator of Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) announced additional five storage free days in addition to normal free days as per tariff which would be applicable on cargoes arrived from 20th March 2020 till vessel arriving on 5th of April, 2020 and deliveries up to 15th April 2020. “Due to the aggressive spread of COVID- 19 and lock down in various parts of the country, we have seen drop in import deliveries from QICT by more than 50 percent. Currently the terminal is working at its maximum capability in cargo handling operations. Terminal is incurring huge costs in order to sustain its operations due to additional safety measures and incentives provided to ensure the continuity of essential supply chain,” a circular issued by DP World noted. In addition to above measures DP World will also facilitate the customers who can clear the cargo but are facing issues in storage. DP World would store such cargoes at 25 percent of its normal storage tariff. Also 100 percent relief in storage charges will be given to NGOs authorized by the government who are involved in humanitarian work related to COVID19. Moreover, Supreme Off-Dock Terminals at Port Qasim and Bay West Terminal at Karachi Port has offered to shift containers from port to their terminals under customs rules and de stuff containers with cargo at their premises. This offer is for importers incurring heavy demurrage and detention charges. “This allows consignee to prevent from further cost exposures and eliminates shipping line's container rent while Customs clearance process can be performed at a later stage,” an official said.