KARACHI: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has reacted to the claims of shipping lines that they would suffer loss if detention charges were waived, and dubbed their claims as untrue.

Vice President FPCCI Khurran Aijaz said international trade had almost shut down and there were no export shipments from Pakistan. “There is no export to USA or Europe, whatever these shipping lines would do with the empty containers other than dumping them,” he said adding detention charges were only justified if the shippers suffered connection losses.

Admitting that shipping lines are foreign entities, Aijaz said these very lines were also operating in neighboring India and most of them had waived detention charges there.

Referring to All Pakistan Shipping Association (APSA) letter to Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Customs, FPCCI office bearer said APSA had itself mentioned cancellation of voyages and non-availability of cargo. “It there is no cargo and no voyages, why do these shipping agents in Pakistan want Pakistan’s importers to vacate the containers”?

Aijaz said that the shipping lines and terminals had honored the directives of Indian government. “Shipping agents didn’t even contact their principals abroad and straight away refused to honor the directives of Pakistan government,” Aijaz claimed.

 Aijaz said that thousand of import containers were lying at ports, and the importers could not get these releases as there was no transportation, while the markets and warehouses had been locked down.

“The importers are already suffering due to closure of markets, declining value of Rupee, and these additional charges by terminal operators and shipping lines. It is not fair for the shipping lines to meet their revenue requirements by penalizing Pakistani importers,” Khurram Aijaz said.

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