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The collection of handling charges in excess of those approved for the Pakistan International Bulk Terminal (PIBT), which handles imported coal at Port Qasim, has triggered an increase in the production cost of coal-fired power plants and industries, say importers. According to them, the terminal operator is charging much more than the specified tariff. PIBT is the only terminal which handles imported coal.
In a letter written to the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Ministry of Energy, special assistant to prime minister on petroleum and commerce adviser, the importers demanded that the authorities take immediate notice of the issue. The letter, stated that PIBT was taking benefit of its monopoly and was collecting arbitrary coal handling charges, which ran into millions of dollars. At the time of approval of the port’s tender, the company was allowed to collect a tariff of $5-5.49 per ton but the terminal administration was demanding $6-6.5 per ton in handling charges besides $1.01 per ton in ancillary fee, he said. “An additional Rs131 per ton is being collected on account of trucking fee. Similarly, the facility of free storage has been slashed from 20 days to just five days,” he said. “After reducing the free storage period, the company imposes storage charges on the importers.”
PIBT denied the allegation of overcharging, insisting that the terminal fully complied with the law.