No proof of weapon smuggling found; Commission submits report in SC

KARACHI: A commission, established by the Apex Court, has found no proof of arms smuggling from Karachi port.

The Supreme Court set up the commission headed by former Member Customs Ramzan Bhatti to probe into the matter of disappearance of Nato weapon shipments from Karachi port after the director general Rangers had told the court on August 30 that around 19,000 containers, loaded with weapons and vehicles, had gone missing during the tenure of a former minister for ports and shipping.

The commission, in its 15-page report, told the Supreme Court that the DG Rangers did not give any evidence to substantiate his claim. The sources said that most of the disappeared containers were loaded with goods for Afghan transit trade and just a few hundred containers linked to Nato.

The commission also rejected any impression that the investigation was influenced by the US embassy. Earlier, US official, in a statement, also denied that any Nato containers had gone missing from the Karachi port.

It was also admitted in the report that due to lack of proper facilities, the Customs Department cannot check every instance of smuggling. The commission, however, rejected link of Karachi’s poor law and order situations with the workings of the Customs Department.

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Port Qasim shipping activities

KARACHI: Following is the berthing schedule of vessels loading and unloading at Port Qasim:

Commodity      Tonnes/TEUs  Ship               Load/Unload

Wheat                    n/a          Ince Beylebey      unload

Palm Oil               n/a          Chemroad Juji      unload

Cement               n/a          Observator               load

Cement               n/a          Diamond Star           load

Containers        n/a          Hanjin Los Angles  load/unload

Containers        n/a          Moliere                       load/unload

Containers        n/a          Nystyed Maersk     load/unload

The Port Qasim Authority said it handled 101,132 tonnes of cargo during the 24 hours to 8 a.m. (0300 GMT) on Wednesday compared to 71,377 tonnes in the previous 24 hours.

Cargo handling in tonnes

Wednesday    Previous

Export cargo    55,569       22,162

Import cargo    45,563       49,215

In the 24 hours, two ships arrived and three ships sailed. In the next 24 hours, one ship is expected to sail and nine ships are expected to arrive.

 

 

Sialkot exporters irked by flaws in WeBOC system

SIALKOT: All Pakistan Dry Ports Association (APDPA) Chairman Mohammad Ishaque Butt expressed his deep concern over the serious functional flaws in WeBOC (Web Based One Customs) system.

In a press statement, he said that due to long registration process, just 25 per cent exporters had yet been registered with WeBOC. The former FBR chairman, on his visit to Sialkot Dry Port Trust on March 1, approved the proposals forwarded by the APDPA including suggestions regarding elimination of bottlenecks and other shortcomings in the WeBOC system. The APDPA chairman said, “This is very unfortunate that FBR is not able to remove these flaws.”

He said that Customs Laws and Rules restricted the bonded carriers to use vehicles registered in the name of other bonded carriers with the Customs Department thereby causing somewhat monopolistic situation and exporters/importers might be penalised with excessive freight charges.

Moreover, he said, availability of registered vehicles at up-country dry ports were limited and lesser than the demand for exports and in One Customs system, up-country dry ports were using registered vehicles of other bonded carriers. Exports from Faisalabad and Multan will also be badly affected if rolled over to these dry ports and even at Karachi, where exports vehicles are received, there are a number of teething problems causing slowing down of the process added.

He also expressed his concern over the slow response by the FBR in conflict resolution which results in hoarding the containers at Sialkot Dry Port and a number of export consignments have already missed the vessels caused huge financial loss to the exporters and foreign exchange loss to the country.

He said Sialkot Dry Port Trust General Manager Khalid Butt and APDPA Secretary met with FBR Chairman, Customs Member and related officers of FBR on September 5, and apprised them about the gravity of the matter and discussed in detail the system flaws/shortcomings of WeBOC and necessary amendments in Custom Laws/Rules but besides promise of the FBR high-ups to resolve the issue within couple of days, the issues had not yet resolved resulting in stoppage of sizable exports from Sialkot.

Ishaque Butt and APDPA Chairman demanded that One Customs System be restored forthwith in parallel to WeBOC system till the rectification of issues with WeBOC and incorporation of necessary amendments to the system and Customs Laws/Rules.

Port Qasim shipping activities

KARACHI: Following is the berthing schedule of major vessels loading and unloading at Port Qasim:

 

Commodity      Tonnes/TEUs    Ship               Load/Unload

Palm Oil             n/a                   Chem Road Fuji     unload

Chemical           n/a                Asavari                        unload

Wheat                n/a                   Ince Bey Lereby    unload

Cement             n/a                 Diamaond Star           load

Cement             n/a                  Observator                load/unload

Containers      n/a               Nysted Maersk            load/unload

The Port Qasim Authority said it handled 71,377 tonnes of cargo during the 24 hours to 8am on Tuesday compared to 95,778 tonnes in the previous 24 hours.

Cargo handling in tonnes

Tuesday    Previous

Export cargo    22,162      25,095

Import cargo    49,215      70,683

In the 24 hours, three ships arrived and three ships sailed. In the next 24 hours, two ships are expected to arrive.

Govt urged to reform ports to improve ranking

KARACHI: The shipping and communications experts have urged the government to start reforms at ports as soon as possible in order to improve the country’s ranking in international ports.

The experts, speaking at a world conference and an exhibition of Multi-Modal Transportation and Logistics – INTERTRANS 2013 at a local hotel, urged the government to increase trade with other countries and reduce the timings of container clearance at the all ports.

The communications laws should be changed so that overcrowding at ports and problems to the stakeholders could be avoided, they said. They informed the audience that according to World Bank, presently Pakistan ports stand at 71st place amongst 156 countries but this ranking could be improved by taking bold steps. The experts said that many suggestions and proposals had been sent to the govt to overcome the stakeholders’ problems regarding containers’ handling and clearing at ports.

Port Qasim Authority chairman Agha Jan Akhtar said that the government should improve logistics including coordination, communications and road networks before linking Gwadar Port with the Central Asian countries and turning it into a model port.

He said that coordination among stakeholders including Railways, National Logistics Corporation, National Highways, Customs and road transport operators should be improved through such conferences.

The experts emphasised upon improving supply chain, which is very important in transportation and international trade, along with ports and shipping and customs clearance problems at all ports. They said that safe transportation of cargo was more important than timely movement of freight.

National Centre for Maritime Policy Director General Vice Admiral (R) Asaf Humayun, International Chamber of Commerce Chairman Tariq M Rangoonwala, Sindh Revenue Board Commissioner Daud Pirzada and Civil Aviation Authority Airport Manager Afsar Malik also spoke on the occasion.

Consignments facing delays at AFU

KARACHI: Long procedure and insufficient number of appraisers are causing delays in clearance of consignments at Pakistan Customs’ Air Freight Unit (AFU).

Former Karachi Customs Agents Association (KCAA) president Tariq Siddiqui said that the purpose to clear imported consignments at AFU was nothing but speedy clearance just to avoid demurrages that escalated the cost of business.
Tariq Siddiqui said if quick clearance was not done, the product cost would increase and the importers would face huge financial losses in case of cancellation of orders. He stated that there was no obstacle in green channel at AFU but the GDs (Goods Declarations) filed at yellow and red channels faced long delay in clearance owing to an additional procedure.
Former KCAA president urged WeBOC Project Director to adopt previous procedure, adding that all the GDs should directly be marked to examiner instead of appraisers as there were only 13 appraisers at AFU.

Shipping activity at Port Qasim

KARACHI: Five ships arrived at Port to load/offload containers at QICT, palm oil at LCT furnace oil at FOTCO, fertilizer at FAP and paraxylene at EVTL, on 16th August, 2013.

Berth occupancy was maintained at 71 percent at the Port Friday where a total of eleven ships namely M.V KPS-I Alican BEY-Powership, M.T Gulf Oasis, M.V Dong Hai Jun (Dredger), M.V Freedom, M.V MSC Didem, M.T Gaea, M.T STX Forte, M.T Bright Oil Legend, M.T Akaki, M.T Argent Gerbera, M.V Arundel Castle. are currently occupying berths to load/offload containers, palm oil, crude oil, phosphoric acid, paraxylene, furnace oil, roro, fertilizer.

Cargo handling operations were carried out smoothly at the Port where a cargo volume 81031 tonnes comprising 68638 tonnes import,12393 tonnes export and (1198) Tues was handled at the Port during last 24 hours.

M.T Bright Oil Legend, M.T Argent Gerbera sailed on Friday afternoon, M.V MSC Didem sailed on Saturday morning.

M.V MSC Clementina at QICT arrival on 17th August, 2013 as per arrival schedule.