Shipping firms should not impose surcharge on importers
By:Natasha Jee
Date:
Kuching Port Authority

KUCHING: Shipping companies should not impose the port congestion surcharge on local importers and merchants.

The shipping companies had imposed the congestion surcharge on importers and exporters since April 16, after shippers experienced delays at the Senari Terminal caused by a breakdown of its computer system.

Kuching Port Authority (KPA) board member Milton Foo said it was unfair for shipping companies to impose the surcharge on the importers.

“If shipping company has suffered any pecuniary losses including time costs due to the negligence or omission of KPA, they should submit their claim for losses to KPA for verification instead of imposing surcharge on the merchants or importers and exporters, and lastly resorting to legal remedy for recovery of losses if necessary.

“This is because the so-called surcharge is not included in the freight contract between the shipping company and the merchant, nor is it levied by KPA against the shipping company,” he said in a Facebook post.

He pointed out that the same should also apply to haulier companies if they have suffered loss or extra operating costs due to the delay in tracing the containers at the yard of Senari Terminal which was attributed to and caused by the computer outage.

“Hence, KPA must take full responsibility and the lessons learned from the computer outage caused by the water leakage of the building into the computer room, and to implement strict control and strengthen the safety and stability of the computer system.

“They must ensure the well functioning of the computer archive and backup facilities which can be activated at any time during emergency breakdown,” he said.

Foo, who is also Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Youth secretary-general, stressed that it is important to maintain good running and smooth operation of the port as it directly affects the daily life of the people and the interests of business sectors.

“KPA must put their best effort to restore computer outage soonest possible so that the operation of Senari Port can be on the right track and solve the problem of container tracing without further delay,” he said.

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