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Mobile phone firms write to shipping, aviation ministries for waiver of demurrage charges

Mobile phone companies have approached shipping and civil aviation ministries seeking waiver of demurrage charges for cargo which could not be lifted during the lockdown period.

While the shipping ministry had waived entire demurrage charges due to lockdown restrictions, the civil aviation ministry had given waiver for half of the charges during the period.

Mobile devices industry body India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) said that despite the order of the ministry, some of the ports, container freight stations and shipping companies are not waiving the charges.

ICEA said that the government has taken several decisions to help the industry, which includes 100 per cent waiver of demurrage charges during the lockdown.

“Also, all ports have been asked to not levy penal, dwell time or anchorage charges. But there are challenges in some ports where the demurrage charges are not waived off.

“Many of our members are facing issues at the ports where the CFS/shipping companies are not waiving the demurrage charges,” ICEA Chairman Pankaj Mohindroo said in a letter to the Shipping ministry on May 14.

In a status report submitted to the Ministry of Electronics and IT, ICEA has listed the burden of 400 per cent rise in international freight cost as one of the major challenges that could increase cost of mobile phone production in the country.

ICEA also approached Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, on behalf of manufacturers who are estimated to have faced loss of around Rs 15,000 crore during the lockdown, on May 7 for relaxation on demurrage charges .

Mohindroo said that the civil aviation ministry has accepted that all the imported air cargo which has landed on or after March 20 at airports in India could not be cleared and removed from the airports thereby creating congestion at some of them for no fault of the air cargo community.

The civil aviation ministry has given time till April 16 to clear all cargo by paying 50 per cent demurrage charges and normal charges thereafter.

“Due to the disruption in transport logistics and cash flows, it is not possible for many to adhere to these unreasonable conditions. We request that this timeline condition be dropped,” Mohindroo said.

ICEA said that airports are public funded space and the mobile phone industry contributes a lot to the same.

“We call upon the authority to adjure rent seeking from cargo held up for 25 days plus 14 days in public funded space due to the lockdown. It should boldly come forward and share the pain of its customer. Please do help the users in this hour of distress,” Mohindroo said.

—Outlook India

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