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Amendment to Letter of Credit format for imports to US urged

KARACHI (December 15 2002) : The shipping experts have called for amendment to the format of Letter of Credit (LC) for imports to US under the advance manifest rules, adding, “If the letter of credit does not have the name of importer, the cargo would not be allowed to enter the US”.

Speaking at a seminar organised by Maersk Sealand on US Customs advance manifest rules on Saturday, they said if the LC has the name of banker only goods pertaining to LC will not be loaded on the vessel bound for US on a transhipment port.

In such case, the shippers would have to pay the demurrage for the containers offloaded at the transhipment port, but they would also be fined at the rate of $500 on first violation and $1,000 on the second non-compliance.

At present, all LCs bear the name of banker instead of the consignee, but under the new rules format, the LCs would have to be amended by the US importers, the experts suggested.

They could not answer a query as to how the Pakistan Customs would react to the cargo returned from the transhipment port owing to discrepancy in manifest.

The participants of the seminar, who were mostly exporters and freight forwarders, were told that they would have to provide details of cargo and the consignee on Wednesday to the shipping company for a vessel scheduled to leave Salalah, which is a transhipment port, in case of cargo from Karachi, on Saturday.

They were also informed that the original bill of lading (B/L) would only be issued to the exporters when the US Customs clears the goods. However, a duplicate copy could be issued for the purpose of quota transactions.

The shipping experts pointed out that if the details given in manifest, and the LC did not match the container would not be accepted, and returned to the shipper at his cost.

The freight forwarders were informed that if a manifest of cargo in a container was not accepted, the entire container would not be accepted even though it has consignment of other parties as well. Not only that if the contents of a container were suspected by the US Customs, the vessel might be stopped at any US port.

The Maersk Sealand issued electronic shipping instructions to its clients at the seminar which exhort them to provide details of cargo through computer to the shipping line with offline option using e-mail for those who do not have a proper internet system.
<br> The system would ensure accuracy and cut time, and money to help the company pass on correct details to the US Customs well in advance, it added.

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