New Delhi: To maintain proper supply lines at seaports and facilitate unhindered cargo movement, the government on Sunday asked all shipping companies not to collect any detention charges on export-import (EXIM) cargo in the wake of the situation arising due to coronavirus outbreak. Shipping companies have been asked not to levy any container detainment charges on import and export shipments till April 14.

The decision was taken after delays were reported in evacuation of goods from ports due to disturbance in the downstream services.

“In order to maintain proper supply lines at the Indian seaports the shipping lines are advised not to impose any container detainment charge on import and export shipments for the period from March 22, 2020 to April 14, 2020 (both days inclusive),” an advisory issued by Directorate General of Shipping said.

During this period, shipping lines are also advised not to impose any new or additional charge, it said adding the decision is purely a one-time measure to deal with the present disruptions caused by spread of COVID-19.

“Government is taking all-round actions to fight against COVIDー19 and its negative impacts on the economy,” said Shipping Minister Mansukh Lal Mandaviya.

Due to delays in evacuation of cargo, some cargo owners have either suspended their operations or are finding it difficult to transport goods or complete the paper work.

The government has imposed a complete lockdown in the country for a period of 21 days till April 14 in the wake of outbreak of deadly coronavirus.

India has 12 major ports — Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Ennore, VO Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata including Haldia– which handle approximately 61 per cent of the country’s total cargo traffic.

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