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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has directed Ministry of Maritime Affairs (MOMA) to submit a detailed report on waiver of storage charges on containers stuck at ports, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

Sharing the detail, sources said, on March 1, 2023, Ministry of Maritime Affairs informed the ECC that a meeting was held in Karachi Port Trust (KPT) Head office, co-chaired by Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Faisal Subzwari and Federal Minister for Commerce and Textile, Syed Naveed Qamar on resolving matters arising out of the situation of containers held-up at the ports due to non-discharge of Letter of Credits L/Cs) and remittances of foreign exchange.

During the meeting, it was decided, inter alia, that KPT/ PQA shall waive off all the charges of demurrages on the stuck-up containers/ cargo in their area of operations, due to the non-discharge of L/Cs and remittances of foreign exchange.

Stranded containers: govt says it will waive KPT and Port Qasim charges

According to sources, the matter was taken up with Karachi Port Trust. KPT noted that its Board through its Resolution B.R. No. 381 of January 31, 2023 approved to waive off all the charges of storage as per SRO No. 1(KE)/2003 of July 1, 2003 on the stuck-up landed containers/cargo held up at Karachi Port as a result of non-retirement of Letter of Credits and remittance of foreign exchange.

KPT had further requested the Ministry of Maritime Affairs to obtain sanction of the Federal Government under Section 44 of KPT Act, 1886.

As per Section 44 of the KPT Act 1886, in special cases, with the previous sanction of the federal government, tolls and charges can be remitted. The power of KPT Board to waive off tolls and charges has been fixed at Rs 5 million.

Any waiver of charges above five million requires sanction of the federal government as per ibid Section. After detailed discussion the proposal of Ministry of Maritime Affairs to waive of demurrage charges of above Rs. 5 million cases where demurrage has accrued due to non-clearance of LCs on basis of certificate by state Bank of Pakistan be allowed was finalized.

The ECC, presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar further directed Ministry of Maritime Affairs to submit a detailed report on waiver of storage charges on containers/ cargo stuck up at ports due to non-retirement of L/Cs on monthly basis to the ECC for consideration.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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