The government is likely to waive off demurrage charges on Indian wheat donated to Afghanistan on humanitarian grounds, official sources told Business Recorder. The sources said Karachi Port Trust (KPT) received request from Al-Tajjir & Co (Pvt) Ltd Karachi, and Consulate General of Afghanistan Karachi in October last year for waiver of port demurrage charges accrued on 100,000 tons of wheat donated by Government of India to Afghanistan for the needy and poor people.
According to KPT, the consignment arrived at port through 18 different vessels during the period from July 2011 to February 2012, which were cleared on payment of demurrage charges. The request for waiver/ refund of port demurrage charges was placed before KPT Board but it was not approved due to lack of sufficient justification as KPT has in no way contributed towards delay in clearance of consignment. According to sources, on a review application on December 27, 2012 of Al-Tajjir & Co (Pvt) Ltd for waiver and refund of demurrage charges paid against the subject consignments amounting to Rs 257,279,108 the case was again placed before the KPT Board for consideration.
The Board in its meeting held on January 24, 2013 considered the request and observed that the amount did not come within the powers of the Board and as such resolved to refer the matter to the Federal Government for consideration and decision under section 44 of KPT Act.
Consulate General of Afghanistan Karachi maintains that delay in clearing the consignment occurred due to custom procedures, seasonal disorder and border blockage on certain occasions. Therefore, they have requested for refund of the paid amount on grounds of friendly and goodwill gesture as the wheat was donated purely on humanitarian ground by the Government of India.
The sources maintained that Ministry of Ports and Shipping had submitted the case to federal government for grant of approval to waive off the demurrage charges and refund the said amount as resolved by the KPT Board vide Resolution No 198 dated 24-1-2013 under section 44 of the KPT Act, 1886 (as amended).