Islam Hisham, an import and export official with the Aifirgo Cement company, said that Egypt’s Customs Authority in the port of Ain Sokhna has been holding onto 240 tonnes of returned cement exports for the last two months.
The Authority, he said, has attempted to label the exports as imports and apply duties to them accordingly. The company has so far lost a total of EGP 250,000 as a result of these containers being held.
Export officials within the company said that the containers were on their way to Saudi Arabia when importers canceled the deal mid-route, forcing them to return to Egypt. On entering the port of Ain Sokhna, Customs Authorities officials labelled the returned cement containers as imports, subsequently applying the appropriate customs duties.
Company officials requested that the containers undergo inspection to prove that they are returned exports, a process which has been difficult due to workers’ strikes in the port. Hisham added that this will increase the cost of unloading these containers in the port.
Ali Aisa, President of the Public Exporters Division of Egypt’s Chamber of Commerce, recently requested that the General Organisation of Export and Import control change the country’s current law labeling returned exports as imports, citing the law’s effect on food and agricultural products in particular.