KARACHI: The shipping lines have been grappling with immense problems in term of revenue generation as most of the ‘refer’ (refrigerate) containers are laying abandoned at terminals, causing heavy loss to shipping lines.
All Pakistan Shipping Association (APSA) Chairman Capt (r) Syed Mushtaq Ali Shah revealed during an exclusive interview with Customs Today at his office.
Syed Mushtaq claimed that the APSA was only association with mandate to represent shipping, terminals, ports and off-dock terminals, adding that the association was striving hard to resolve the issues being faced by its members.
Commenting on tax system, the APSA chairman said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) should remove ambiguities in tax collection on services as the shipping lines were already paying 8 percent tax on freight service. However, the FBR authorities are contemplating increase in the freight service tax up to 16 percent which will put devastating impact on shipping lines,” he voiced concern.
Syed Mushtaq pointed out that the FBR and Pakistan Customs were facing millions of rupees loss due to non-clearance of 2,500 TEUs (20-feet containers) for some legal reasons at Karachi Port and Port Qasim for the last six years.
The APSA chairman suggested to the FBR authorities to arrange for auction of the stuck containers which would help generate millions of rupees revenue.
He divulged that a delegation of the APSA had already taken up the issue with the Chief Collector-Appraisement (South) Nasir Masroor Ahmad who assured that the Pakistan Customs would arrange auction of the items contained in the stuck containers at the earliest.
To a query, Syed Mushtaq contended that the FBR by improving facilities and infrastructure on ports and terminals could enhance trade and revenue.
Replying another query, the APSA chairman said that rates of charges of shipping lines were very clear and notified, adding that these rates included delivery order charges, documents, CFS, Insurance, DG and cleaning charges.
He rejected the impression regarding hidden charges being charged by shipping lines from importers and exporters, saying that it was mere perception.
Commenting on WeBOC, Syed Mushtaq declared that it was an efficient system introduced by FBR, however, it had some hitches as its functioning differed at Karachi Port and Port Qasim.
To a query, the APSA chairman said that the Gwadar Port should be used as “transit port” with better infrastructure keeping in view the economic growth of the country.
He further said that the transit terminals should be established at ports to enhance trade activities for secure future.
Underlining the importance of railways network, Syed Mushtaq said that no port in the world could run without proper railways track, adding that the government should focus on development of railway system to enhance upward country trade.
“Trade with Central Asian countries should also be increased through the development of railways system”, he asserted.
Syed Mushtaq urged the government to enhance cargo trains, adding that cargo trains between Karachi and Lahore should run every three to four days.
He emphasised that the government should connect Gwadar port with other parts of the country through a well-thought-out railways system which would bring about multiple benefits.
All Pakistan Shipping Association Chairman Syed Mushtaq Ali Shah in his message for Customs Today said that “I am really pleased with the working of Customs Today, as it covers all aspects of trade including shipping, terminals, ports and FBR.”
Customs Today has provided a platform for raising voice for genuine issues being faced by different stakeholders of business and trade.