September 21, 2020: Efforts by FPCCI and Customs to provide trade facilitation are not properly materialized due to weak contribution/participation by other stakeholders particularly Shipping Companies and Terminal Operators, stated by Mian Anjum Nisar, President FPCCI while chairing a special meeting to discuss issues related to the port & shipping in Pakistan.
He further said that the government must maintain a strong writ to regulate the shipping companies and terminal operators to support the already suffering trade and industry.
Mr. Khurram Ijaz, Vice President FPCCI while convening an interactive session at FPCCI with the all relevant stakeholders said that the business community has been suffering due to the uncooperative behavior by the shipping lines and private terminal operators since decades, however, the recent lockdown in the country made it impossible for the traders to survive in such unsupported regime.
He further mentioned that the shipping lines and terminal operators are being regulated by the ministries of port & shipping around the world, however, in Pakistan, the same is under the supervision of Customs, FBR.
In addition, he stated that these shipping lines offer maximum facilitation and cooperation to the public and private sectors in our neighboring countries like India, however, the same protocol is not at all given to Pakistan. He emphasized on the long term solution of such issues and demanded the authorities to design a multi-stakeholder mechanism based on the international best practices to ease the process for traders.
He also suggested the need for a joint regulatory/advisory committee including the representatives of customs, shipping lines, terminal operators, and all the stakeholders to resolve these issues amicably.
FPCCI invited the Chief Collector Enforcement Karachi Saifuddin Junejo with his team of including Mr. Omer Shafique Additional Collector Customs (Enforcement), Mr. Saqif Saeed, Collector Customs (Preventive), Engr. Riyaz Ahmed Memon Collector Customs Appraisement (East), Mr. Jameel Nasir Khan Collector Custom Appraisement (West), Mr. Fawwad Ali Shah Collector Customs Exports (PMBQ), and Mr. Rizwan Bashir Additional Collector Customs (Exports), to apprise them of problems confronted by the business community and exporters.
While answering the queries and issues raised by the participants, Saifuddin Junejo said that Pakistan Customs is always available to serve the business community. Discussing the role of Customs as the regulator of shipping lines, he further said that Customs have recently canceled the license of few shipping lines against the complaints received by the traders and are currently in court for the settlement of such matters. He invited FPCCI to be a party with FBR as an intervener in legal cases in which shipping lines have taken stay orders against the relevant amendments in the Finance Bill. He assured Customs’ utmost and unbiased cooperation to all the stakeholders relevant to port & shipping.
Mr. Shabbir Hassan Mansha, Convener FPCCI Standing Committee on Customs briefly said that Customs has always endorsed our proposals however many of the initiatives for the solution of the issues get stuck in the legislation.
Mian Zahid Hussain appreciated the fruitful efforts of the Chairman FBR assured the support of the business community for the promotion of Pakistan’s trade around the world. Mr. Saquib Fayyaz Magoon, former Vice President FPCCI said that all the major shipping lines around the world strictly adhere to regulations by the government of respective country however, the situation seems very different in terms of Pakistan which should be addressed on a priority basis.
The session was attended by a large number of representatives from the trade bodies and prominent businessmen as well as representatives of the private terminal operators. The participants of the meeting presented issues of dual wharfage charges, delays in grounding, backlog & congestion at the port, excess detention & demurrage charges, etc.
The participants strongly demanded the early resolution of the discussed issues to encourage the flow of trade activities in the country. In conclusion, Khurram Ijaz requested/urged the government to improve the regulatory mechanism for all the stakeholders of port and shipping which will increase the productivity & efficiency of our trade and industry.