Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Saturday expressed concerns over imposition of container detention charges by foreign shipping lines amid lockdown-like situation in the country due to coronavirus pandemic.
Some of the foreign shipping lines are imposing excessive demurrages or container detention charges arbitrarily on importers due to absent of uniform policy of governing demurrage charges, DCCI said in a press release issued on the day.
This unregulated container detention charges levied by the shipping lines increase the price of imported raw materials used for manufacturing export items resulting in decline in cost competitiveness of the country’s export-oriented sectors, DCCI said.
It also inflates the price of imported products for local consumers, it added.
Foreign shipping lines have been charging detention charges amid the lockdown-like measures the government imposed to check spread of coronavirus since March 26 disobeying an advisory of Department of Shipping.
The department on April 29 issued the advisory directing the shipping lines not to realise container detention charges during the lockdown period.
Shipping lines operating in India and New Zealand are not collecting the charges complying with the directives of the respective authorities in the countries.
DCCI said that delays in evacuation of goods from the ports had become inevitable due to the disturbance of the downstream services amid the unprecedented situation although the government was working towards smooth functioning of the seaports and to keep operational activities of the ports normal.
DCCI said that the shipping lines and their agents should waive container demurrage charge and abstain from imposing any new or additional charges during the lockdown period.
Moreover, there should be a uniform policy governing rational and logical detention charges on import and export shipment by foreign shipping lines, it said.
The Chittagong Port Authority may also take necessary measures against shipping lines if they breach any directives of CPA related to ease of container congestion at port.
The trade body also urged the Bangladesh Bank not to allow outward remittance in foreign exchange as demurrage charge collected by the shipping lines during the locked-down period violating the advisory of the Department of Shipping.
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