The Indian shipping ministry has waived off penal charges, demurrage, detention, dwell time, anchorage and others charges to be borne by importers for 30 additional days for the recovery period after the lockdown ends. The waiver comes in the wake of Indian authorities extending the COVID-19 related lockdown.
A notification to this effect, released on April 21 comes after associations requested the government to grant them relief. Lockdown measures and associated disruptions in logistic chains have hit seaborne trades. Importers are also unable to evacuate cargoes on time and cash flow remains a challenge.
Davis Index had earlier reported about Material Recyclers Association of India appealing for this waiver. The Container and Freight Stations Association of India (CFSAI) was however against this move.
In a letter written to Chief Managing Directors of all ports in India, the Ministry of Shipping has asked port authorities to ensure that no penal charges, demurrages, detention charges are to be levied against on traders, importers, exporters, shipping lines, concessionaires, licensees, and Container Freight Stations. Shipping Ministry has also asked ports against levying dwell time charges, anchorage charges, penal berth hire charges, performance-related penalties, etc. for any delay in berthing, loading, or unloading operations or evacuation or the arrival of cargo during the Lock-down and 30 days more for the recovery period.
As a relief measure to CFSAI members, the shipping ministry has asked ports to allow deferment of April, May and June payments for annual lease rentals/license fees on a pro-rata basis, without any interest. Ministry of Shipping said the deferment can be done only if requested by lessee or licensee. CFSAI had written a letter to the government stating that they are currently incurring huge additional expenses towards retaining truckers, crane operators, and their staff and paying rentals and license fees.
This exemption will be applicable only for the annual lease rentals and license fee to be received by the port for the year 2020, the letter said.Earlier, major shipping lines including MSC, CMA were not ready to accept extension in waiver as they were instructed to waive off detention and demurrage charges only till April 14. While there was no clarity from the government on the same post extension in lockdown till May 3.
Members of Inland Importers and Consumers Association have also expressed satisfaction on the government’s decision to waive off detention and demurrage charges till the end of the extended lockdown period plus 30 days more. The members shared that the importers faced liquidity crunch and lack of demand are not in the position to carry out unloading operations.
Other MRAI requests
1. A subsidy of Rs2 electricity charges on all steel manufacturing units
2. Secondary steel sector should get preference in government procurement by relaxing the criteria to boost demand for secondary steel and non-ferrous metals
3. Incentives for promoting exports of steel products and non-ferrous metals
4. Waive off import duties of 2.5-5pc on ferrous and non-ferrous scrap imports