Bandar Kuching DAP MP Chong Chieng Jen has welcomed the Kuching Port Authority’s (KPA) announcement that proposed Channel Maintenance Recovery Charges will be deferred.
“The people will save an estimated RM11 million for the one-year period from June 1 this year,” he said in a statement.
He called on the Sarawak Government to cancel the Channel Maintenance Recovery Charges altogether and not just defer it.
“There’s no justification for KPA to start collecting the charges from June 1 next year.”
The KPA should also refund the “Channel Maintenance Recovery Charges” collected from forwarding and shipping companies, he added.
Firstly, said the MP, the channel was part of public infrastructure.
“The government has a duty to maintain it, just like in the case of roads and drains.”
The shippers already paid port charges and taxes to the government, he pointed out.
“They should not be asked to pay another extra 20 per cent charges for the maintenance of the channel.”
Secondly, the channel-deepening project would only be completed by 2019 and, therefore, the KPA should not start collection of the charges before the project is completed, he said.
Thirdly, the Sarawak Government should not add further costs to the already high local transport costs for goods.
The rates for the Channel Maintenance Recovery Charges are RM36.25 per 20 feet container and RM72.50 per 40 feet container for import- and export-laden containers.
The additional charges constitute 20 per cent of port charges for cargo shipment.