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Pakistani apparel exporters raise objection over shipping bills
13
Oct '11
Apparel exporters in Pakistan have raised objection over the two bills – Carriage of Goods by Sea Bill 2011 and Sea Carriage Shipping Documents Bill 2011 – prepared by the Senate Standing Committee. These bills were meant to be put before the National Assembly for its approval and made into a law.

The garment exporters have described the bills as against the interests of both exporters and importers and have proposed changes in their texts. They have suggested replacing of words “any bill” with “the bill of lading issued by shipping lines” and not “the one by freight forwarders”.

Explaining the whole issue to Fibre2fashion.com, Mr. Ijaz Khokhar, former Central Chairman, Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA) said, “Actually, there was a difference of opinion with the freight forwarders, who were trying to influence the Government according to their rules and issuing the House Bill of Lading and House Airway Bill. The exporters objected that this was not the correct method because they must issue an Original Bill of Lading instead of their own House Bill of Lading.”

He continued, “The exporters contended if the ownership of the shipper is changed, someone can change the goods on the Master Bill of Lading, as the exporters possess not the official bill but the House Bill of Lading, which means no responsibility of the freight.”

Mr. Khokhar said, “Those who are in possession of the Master Bill of Lading automatically become the real custodians of the goods that we are shipping. There have been instances in the past, when some exporters had to suffer as they passed the Original Bill of Lading to the clients. Taking the advantage, the clients took the goods without paying to the exporters. Hence, we requested the Government to make changes in the bills prepared by the Senate committee, as a wrong practice was being followed.”

He explained, “This was an internal domestic matter of Pakistan because it was a matter of House Bill of Lading and Master Bill of Lading. Master Bill of Lading is that document which the shipping lines give us as the original receipt of the goods that they are taking from the exporters and transporting to Europe. In the case of air shipments, Original Airway Bill is the authentic document which one can present in return of the goods.”

He further revealed, “Currently, the shipping lines are giving us a House Bill of Lading instead of the Original Bill of Lading. The House Bill of Lading is of no value and exporters are likely to lose their goods before arriving at the destination. Hence, it is a matter of concern.”

On future prospects of the bills, the former Chairman of PRGMEA said, “These bills are deferred for the time being. After making changes in the appropriate clause(s) based on the suggestions of the stakeholders, the amended bills will be placed before the National Assembly at a later date.”

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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