Business Hurdles: Importers complain about delay in issuing paperworkNepali importers are complaining that shipping giant Maersk Line has not given them the paperwork related to their cargo on the merchant vessel SSL Kolkata which sank in shallow waters near Kolkata Port.
Nepali importers are complaining that shipping giant Maersk Line has not given them the paperwork related to their cargo on the merchant vessel SSL Kolkata which sank in shallow waters near Kolkata Port.
The SSL Kolkata caught fire and went down 7.5 nautical miles off the Indian Sunderbans, Kolkata on June 13. The ship was transporting a number of containers containing mobile phones and sanitary ware bound for Nepal.
Danish-based Maersk Line has been providing shipping services to Nepali traders for the last two decades. The cargo owners have been asking the shipping company to provide the sea worthiness certificate and salvage report so that they can make an insurance claim.
The certificate of seaworthiness is used to prove the seaworthiness of a ship. Usually, the certificate is a type of document issued by the country to which the vessel owner belongs. The salvage report is issued by the shipping company and contains details about the possible recovery of the damaged goods.
Shirish Murarka, director of Pashupati Trade Link, an importer of Micromax and One-plus mobile phones, said they had not been able to make an insurance claim for lack of paperwork. “We have been contacting Maersk Line regularly, but the company has been reluctant to even respond to our request,” said Murarka, adding that they were incurring huge losses due to the delay.
Pashupati Trade Link claimed that it had opened a letter of credit with NIC Asia Bank to import the mobile phones. According to the company, it has purchased an insurance policy covering the goods from Neco Insurance.
The imported goods are valued at more than Rs27 million and they were insured for $270,000, Murarka said. “We contacted the Maersk Line office in Kolkata and its liaison office in Nepal, and they just assured us that they would provide the necessary documents soon.”
Bolan Home Solution, a subsidiary of the Mangalam Group, also said that the Maersk Line had been delaying issuing the documents. According to the company, the ship contained sanitary ware worth Rs4.6 million belonging to them.
“After making certain that the goods cannot be recovered, the shipping company is required to issue a salvage report to traders. However, the company has been delaying without any particular reason,” said Abinav Churwal, managing director of Bolan Home Solution.
“A ship carrying Nepal-bound cargo had sunk some 25 years ago too; but at that time, Nepali traders did not face any hassles in obtaining the documents,” said Pashupati Murarka, former president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
The Maersk Line said Nepali traders should have contacted the department concerned. Saurav Saksena, the shipping company’s liaison officer in Nepal, said Nepali traders should send their complaint to the customer service department instead of complaining to the liaison office.