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January 20, 2015

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China Post admits leaving parcel containers at port

CHINA Post yesterday admitted that hundreds of containers from Japan have been languishing at Waigaoqiao port for months, but blamed the delay on Shanghai Customs.

China Post Express Mail Service said 287 containers shipped from Japan in eight batches between late October and the end of November are stuck at the port. They mostly contain haitao, or goods bought online from overseas, it said.

EMS said the delay was because Shanghai Customs in October launched a monthlong “investigation into its supervision mode,” which meant its usual clearance procedures were halted until mid-December.

After the shipments had been cleared by Customs, the port authority charged EMS more than 8 million yuan in demurrage fees, an official based at the company’s headquarters on Wuding Road in Jing’an District said yesterday.

Shanghai Customs yesterday denied claims it had delayed the clearance procedure on any shipments.

Ma Xiaohua, deputy director of the post supervision department at Shanghai Customs, showed its clearance records to Shanghai Television “proving” it had been operating normally.

“The first containers arrived on October 23 and Customs finished the clearance process on October 28,” Ma said.

Clearance promise

Customs received an application from EMS to take away 301 containers on December 15 and gave the green light the same day, Customs said in a statement sent to Shanghai Daily yesterday.

But EMS took only 14 containers and left 287, all of which are still at the port, it said.

Customs said it promises to complete the clearance procedure on all shipments within three working days.

Officials from Shanghai Customs, Shanghai Post and the Shanghai International Port Group met last Tuesday but failed to reach agreement on the disputed demurrage charges, STV reported.

“EMS is working with Shanghai Customs and the port to resolve the problem,” said Zhou Ying, customer service supervisor with EMS.

“The company will seek to deliver people’s parcels as soon as possible,” she said.

EMS has a monopoly on the provision of delivery services for goods bought online and shipped into the country from overseas. Most haitao buyers choose transport by sea as it is cheaper than air mail.

“About 80,000 parcels sent from October to December were held up at the port,” Murada Hideo, a spokesman for Japan Post, told Shanghai Daily.

“We have no idea what’s going on there. It’s the first time we’ve ever come across such a problem,” he said.


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