Truck queues at Chaman Pakistan Afghan border

The major flooding across Pakistan has seen up to 7,000 containers stranded on the road between Karachi and Chaman (pictured), on the Afghan border, south-east of Kandahar, but shipping lines have not waived their detention & demurrage (D&D) charges.

Many trucks were carrying empties being returned to the carriers, but as the free rental time on the boxes ended, the D&D charges kicked in and the lines started to see the cash pouring into their coffers.

Estimates of up to $14m in D&D charges are thought to have been levied by major lines, mainly Yang Ming, OOCL and HMM, as well as other smaller carriers, since the middle of last month when the floods hit.

Traders have hit back at being charged anything from $130-$170 per day per container for “holding onto” boxes that could not be returned as Pakistan suffered some of the worst flooding in its history, with estimates of one-third of the country being under water.

One, Tahir Achakzaim, told The Loadstar: “I have one container that is 11 days past its free time, so far, and the charges are now at $1,870 – the funny thing is that the freight charges from Shanghai to Karachi are also about $2,000. So, they have doubled the cost for me and the income for them.”

He added: “It is difficult to be precise about how many containers are caught in the floods, and the value of goods in those containers, so these numbers are just rough estimates.”

According to Yang Ming’s website, the Taiwanese carrier embraces society. It says: “We supply valuable transportation in society and serve the society and all the people.”

In describing the translation of the company’s name, it says it is derived from 16th century philosopher Wang Yang-ming, whose philosophy linked “knowing and doing”, and translates the Chinese characters from the philosopher’s name to mean ‘integrity’.

South Korea’s HMM offers “transparency and fairness” in order to become a “trusted company” on the company ethics section of its website, while OOCL, whose motto is “We take it personally” claims four core values: “People, people, people; customer focus’ excellence through quality; and community responsibility.”

Of the shippers and forwarders that say they are struggling to keep their businesses running and have asked the carriers to cancel these charges for the duration of the flood crisis, none has received a response.

Nor have the lines responded to requests for a statement from The Loadstar, but are still sending out the invoices, seen by The Loadstar, demanding more cash.

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