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KARACHI: Following the implementation of empty containers module by Pakistan Customs without any prior notice to the trade, the WeBOC system has started blocking the goods declarations (GDs) of export containers, creating immense difficulties for the exporters to ensure shipping their consignments through scheduled vessels.

According to exporters, a WeBOC module for empty containers has been deployed without conducting any training workshop for the trade.

They said that as per customs rules, the container had a six month renting period, which was extendable to a year and afterward, no container could be entered into the ports without the NOC issued by the shipping companies.

However, the said rule was not implemented for long hence the inbound and outbound movement of even those containers having expired renting period, were not restricted at ports, they said.

Furthermore, the exporters said that a WeBOC module for empty containers had been enforced without any prior notice to the trade that led to a chaos like situation at ports for export shipments.

“There is a normal practice! We don’t check the expiry of the renting period of a container before loading the goods. Therefore, the majority of exporters or their clearing agents are unaware of its implementation. Now, after the implementation of WeBOC module for empty container without prior notice, the exporters and clearing agents are facing hardships to file GDs in the system as a large number of GDs have been blocked and the entry of the export shipments are declined, due to expiry of renting period of the containers.”

“As a result, the exporters have no option but de-stuffing the containers and loading the goods in another container having no expiry of its renting period in order to ship the consignments through the scheduled vessels that led to increasing cost of doing business.”

To a question, they said that the unannounced implementation of WeBOC module had also opened the doors of corruption as the customs staff was asking ‘speed money’ for intruding the export containers into the ports.

Moreover, they said that shipping agents were also delaying the issuance of NOC hence the exporters were forced either to bear additional cost of doing business by de-stuffing the goods and loading it to another containers or ‘grease the palm’ of the customs staff for trespassing the module and get their export shipments entered in the ports.

Keeping the said problem in view, they urged the customs authority, which was now holding a training workshop on February 9, 2021 for the trade, to hold the implementation of this module for at least two weeks and facilitate the exporters at maximum.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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