Pak govt. waives half of storage charges on NATO containers stranded in country's ports
In a sign that Pak-US relations are on the mend, the Pakistan government has waived half of the demurrage charges on NATO containers stranded on the country's sea ports due to blockage of the land route.
The decision of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) to write off Rs 187.8 million demurrage and storage charges was taken just four days before the first anniversary of the attack on the Salala check post by US troops, reports The Express Tribune.
According to officials, three shipping and freight forwarding companies- International Logistics and Trading, Security Packers and Customs Consultants and Advisers - responsible for handling the NATO cargo, owe a total sum of Rs 375.5 million.
An official said that NATO hired these companies for handling the cargo, including the containers that remained stranded from the end of November 2011 to July 2012.
The move has irked some in the finance ministry, an official said, noting that the ministry had opposed the proposal to write off the demurrage charges.
The Economic Affairs Division argues that these companies should take up the claims with the NATO authorities instead of seeking a waiver.
The ECC did not deliberate over the issue and the decisions on three separate summaries of the ministry of ports and shipping were taken in haste. Both the divisions had given their dissenting views on the summary before it was tabled in the ECC meeting, the official added.
NATO supplies were halted due to tensions between Washington and Islamabad in the aftermath of the airstrike on Salala check post that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers including two officers on November 26, 2011.
In response, Pakistan blocked NATO supplies to US troops in Afghanistan. But after months of negotiations to reopen NATO supply the government tagged deliveries to Afghanistan at 5,500 dollars per container.