KARACHI: Director Transit Trade Karachi Zeba Azhar has advised shipping lines to ensure security of their containers through insurance guarantee instead of taking deposit in cash, which over burdens the businesses. It may be mentioned here the shipping companies take up to approximately $3,000 for a 20ft container, and $6,000 for a 60ft container in transit to land-locked Afghanistan as security deposit in cash. "Transit trade being an international obligation, must observe international best practices, which aim to reduce cost of doing business and promote trade facilitation," Ms. Azhar noted. "Since duty/taxes against Afghan Cargo are already secured through insurance guarantee by Directorate of Transit Trade to obviate en-route pilferage, on similar pattern duties and taxes against empty containers can be secured through insurance guarantee (instead of cash) to minimize the risk of loss, damage and theft of container," Zeba Azhar noted in a letter to All Pakistan Shipping Agency (APSA). Director Transit Trade Karachi Zeba Azhar, under the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, is further streamlining transit trade to facilitate international business and eradicate smuggling. She noted the intention of replacing security deposit in cash with insurance guarantee was not intended to promote monopoly of any stakeholder in handling transit cargo. Directorate of Transit Trade Karachi has raised the issue of exorbitant container security deposit and container detention charged by shipping companies in case of transit trade. An official said the shipping companies having foreign principals had formed a monopoly and persistently refusing to cooperate with the government authorities to facilitate trade and business in the time of pandemic. Traders said the security deposit demanded by the shipping companies was quite high; on the other hand getting the refund, after delivery of empty containers, was a cumbersome task.