Examination process: Importers accuse Customs of mishandling imported goods

Importers and clearing agents operating at the ports of Karachi and Port Bin Qasim, two of the region’s largest and busiest ports in Pakistan have expressed their deep concern over the mishandling of their imported goods by the Customs officials and terminal operators at the examination area of Qasim International Containers’ Terminal (QICT).

The importers and clearing agents alleged that the examining staff of the MCC Port Muhammad Bin Qasim and QICT restricted the importers and their authorised agents to enter the examination premises during the scrutiny process, which was causing huge sum of loss to them, as the examination and terminal staffers mishandled the imported goods on the time of unloading the containers.

“The Customs officials and terminal operators start the examination at the afternoon and leave the imported items of the consignments ‘unattended’ in the evening without completing the entire examination process, which on one hand, increases the risk of damaging the imported items, while on the other hand, raises the cost of doing business due to delay in the examination process,” the importers said.

The importers and clearing agents said that they had also appealed to the authorities concerned of the MCC-Port Muhammad Bin Qasim to take notice of the situation, so that the proper facilities could be provided to the importers in order to increase the trade.

When contacted, a customs officer at MCC-Port Muhammad Bin Qasim, who does not want his name mentioned refuted the allegations of the importers and clearing agents, stated that the Customs authorities were determined to eliminate the contact between importers and Customs officials and terminal operators.

“Right now, no pendency exists at the QICT for the examination process as the Customs officials are making sure ‘zero pendency’ on daily basis,” the officer said.

The Customs officer further said that the importers and their clearing agents were not allowed to make any kind of access in the premises of examination area in order to make the entire process transparent.

“After completing the examination on the same day, the authorities concerned send the message of ‘cleared’ to the concerned importer/clearing agent, who filed Goods Declaration,” he said.

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