LAHORE:Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi Friday announced formation of an advisory committee, comprising representatives from the chambers, ministry and other relevant departments to resolve demurrage and other related issues.
He said this while speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI).
He said that he would visit LCCI again while accompanied by Chairmen of Karachi Port Trust and Port Qasim Authority to resolve the issues of business community. The advisory committee would play a vital role in resolving the demurrage and other issues being faced by the business community, he said.
Ali Zaidi invited the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry to visit Karachi Port Trust, Port Qasim and Gwadar to explore the emerging opportunities of new shipping policies.
The Minister also shed light on the working of ports and shipping and said that his ministry inherited multiple problems and he was trying his best to resolve them.
He said, “We are going to give great news to the nation about Gwadar Port very soon.”
He said that ports in Karachi fell under his domain but their terminals had been handed over to private sector on long lease.
He said that State Bank of Pakistan allowed Pakistani investors to avail the facility of long term finance for purchase of ships and development of related infrastructure.
He said that ships registered in Pakistan would enjoy the facility of preferential birthing.
Similarly, the ships purchased under the policy could avail exemption from custom duty, Income Tax and Sales Tax till 2030, he added.
He said that Pakistani investors could purchase their own ships and hand over its management to Pakistan National Shipping Company but its bills would be paid in Pakistani rupees not in dollars.
He said, “Pakistan has five terminals for containers loading and unloading and the Ministry got various port charges waved off.”
The Minister said that blue economy could change the fate of the country. He said that country was spending $ 5.5 billion annually on imports freight bill. He said that action against the grabbers of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) land was well under way.
LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah said that there were some shipping companies which were continuously violating their manifestation as the containers were often offloaded at such ports which were not mentioned in their designated route. Resultantly, the consignees had to bear extra cost in the shape of demurrage and warfare charges which were paid in dollars.
He said that port storage charges and container detention charges needed to be brought down.
Mian Tariq Misbah said that the Container Security charges which were considerably higher for the
up-country businesses as compared to the businesses based in Karachi. “We recommend that these charges should be uniform for all the businesses that clear their consignments in Karachi, regardless of which part of the country they belong to,” he added.
The LCCI President said that the charges of shipping companies were already too high and all the factors were further adding up in the overhead expenses of industry that was presently facing the tough time. He proposed, “All these charges should be rationalized so that we remain regionally competitive.”
He recommended proper training of staff for better performance.
Later, while talking to media, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had become the largest party in the Senate after recently held polls in the upper house of the parliament.
He said the PTI had made substantial gains in the Senate elections. He alleged that everyone knew that how one seat was bought in the Senate polls.
He said that the country was making progress and showing improvement in different sectors which could be witnessed by all.
Zaidi said that challenges do come on the way to progress and development, adding that country’s exports were increasing which was a very good omen.
To a question, he said the government sincerely wanted to make electoral process transparent for which a bill was also presented in the National Assembly.932