Siyam Hoque

Published:
2020-06-04 10:13:15 BdST

Stop taking demurrage charge on containers


The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) has requested the Bangladesh Container Shipping Association (BCSA) and Bangladesh Shipping Agent Association (BSAA) to rescind their decision to take demurrage charges for keeping containers beyond the stipulated 'free-time' during the coronavirus-induced general holidays.

The nationwide general holidays, announced by the government on March 26, ended on June 01.

Meanwhile, the leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) have also urged the two organisation to exempt them of paying detention charges and demurrage charges on containers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The CPA sent its letter to the BCSA and BSAA requesting them to exempt businesses from paying demurrage charges during the prolonged national holidays.

Port sources said, after unloading containers from ships, concerned businesses are allowed free time ranging from seven to 14 days to keep containers before handing over them to their owning shipping companies. They said the users of containers don't need to pay store-rent for detaining the containers. Within the stipulated time, the importers have to return the containers after delivery of the goods. The principal or main line operators use to impose charges including detention and demurrage charges on containers which started from US $6.0 per day.

In the letter, sent on Monday, the CPA requested both the organisations to stop taking all forms of charges on containers till June 15.

The CPA also urged the two organisations to follow directives issued earlier by the Director General (DG) of Department of Shipping in this regard.

On April 29, the DG (Shipping) ordered the concerned shipping lines and agents not to impose detention charges and demurrage charges on businesses during the general holidays.

In the meantime, Maersk shipping line has decided to waive 50 per cent detention charges and demurrage charges on containers for the protracted holidays till June 15. Maersk said that if any importer paid full charges, they will return or adjust the 50pc of the payable charges. Talking to the FE, First Vice President of BGMEA Mohammed Abdus Salam said importers in the RMG sector are suffering a lot due to imposition of detention and demurrage charges on containers during the coronavirus outbreak. Chittagong port exempted the store-rent while neighbouring country India has also exempted importers of all charges, including detention and demurrage, on containers, he mentioned.

"We request the concerned organisations to waive all such charges as coronavirus is a global crisis," he added.

Contacted, General Secretary of Chattogram Paper Importers Association Mohammed Ali said they have already sent a letter to the concerned shipping agents for exempting them of paying detention and demurrage charges. "I hope that the CPA and the government will also take necessary steps in this regard," he added.

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