Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has requested the federal minister for ports and shipping Syed Ali Zaidi to waive port demurrages and container rent, being charged on around 500 containers of solar panel and related equipment, which are stuck at ports, due to the issuance of SRO 604/2019. In a letter sent to the minister, vice president FPCCI Arshad Jamal said that the federal government has allowed the imports of solar panel and its other related equipment under zero rated tariffs to promote alternative energy in order to overcome present electric crisis in the country.
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However, the ministry of commerce through SRO 604/19 made PSI certificates and test reports mandatory from the port of origin for the clearance of the consignments of solar panel and other related equipments without mentioning the date of its implementation. Resultantly, around 500 containers of said items are stuck at ports as the same were arrived under previous order. Later, the ministry has clarified that the SRO would not be applicable on the goods of which bill of lading or letter of credit was established till June 1, 2019.
And now, the federal government has further extended the date for the implementation of the SRO 604/19 for its rectification and the consignments are allowed to be released from the port under previous import policy order but the charges of port demurrages in PKR and container detention charges in US$ 150/- per day per container are now accumulated to Rs 100 million and Rs720 million respectively, which is unbearable for the trade.
The letter further stated that all said additional financial burden would escalate the cost of the consignment of solar panel and its related equipment that would ultimately discourage the use of alternative energy in Pakistan. Therefore, the FPCCI has requested the minister to look into the matter and allow waiver on port demurrages and direct shipping companies to surrender its container detention charges to protect the public interest at large, the letter added.
(This news/article originally appeared in Business Recorder on August 26th, 2019)