01 August, 2013
‘There was no adequate response from the Embassy of China’

Lately more and more people say that they face problems connected with bringing cargo from China. Recently, several businessmen addressed us. They said that cargo sent to Tbilisi, for unknown reasons were discovered in Ukraine, namely in the port of Illichivsk. And to release a container from there is almost like a releasing cargo from pirates.
Businessmen say that the sea agents of Illichivsk port are demanding unimaginably high taxes
from them and this transit port is very much like a zone of robbers. As businessmen say, detaining of containers for several months and robbing them is a usual practice and this Ukrainian port is a seat of bureaucracy and corruption. But that’s where the shoe pinches – why do cargo get to Ukraine and what are the schemes working for the cargo sent from China. This has become a profitable business for some people but nobody has turned up yet to keep them answerable.
As explained by the specialists of sea routes, it’s inadmissible in the world logistics that cargo moving from Asia to Georgia be transferred to a port in Ukraine. It’s a business of ports of Italy and Istanbul.
In order not to go too far and tire you by giving many examples, an obvious instance of ‘Biblus’ Company will be enough; what’s more the Embassy of China in Georgia as well as Business Attach? of China are officially informed about the case. Accordingly, this is a vivid example of how official agencies react to identical problems and that in the trade relations between the countries private sector is left in charge of its own abilities. Last year the ‘Biblus’ Company purchased from local Yongkang Wangshun Industry & Trade Co. firecrackers; they weren’t pyrotechnics but were shooting motley papers. Georgian Company paid the sum for the product in advance; Chinese side had to load the container observing all the necessary rules. The Chinese Border Line Inspection stopped the container because the product was not accompanied by security document provision of which was the obligation of Chinese Company. The cargo was arrested for about one months and the Chinese Company was fined for $8 thousand for absence of the document. In the container there was cargo of another Georgian Company and it also suffered due to negligence of the Chinese Company. The Chinese Company complained that it paid a high penalty and it couldn’t return the sum that ‘Biblus’ had paid for the product.
They requested to take this cargo to Georgia again. ‘Biblus’ expressed its goodwill and offered them to draw up a security document and a Georgian Company would take the cargo to Georgia.
The Chinese Company still didn’t take the security document because the expenses were going rather high and offered ‘Biblus’ that it would send the cargo to Tbilisi with the help of Chinese transport Company that didn’t require that document. An agreement was drawn between Chinese and Georgian Companies where it was written that the cargo would be transported on condition that the Chinese side would take it to Tbilisi. ‘Biblus’ added transportation expenses to the Chinese Company and after loading the container on the ship the Georgian side received a document where it was written that the ship with the container was heading to the port of Illichivs’k but the place of final destination was Tbilisi. Chinese side’s excuse was that from Ukraine the cargo would be loaded on motor transport and taken to Tbilisi. But after the cargo approached the port of Illichivs’k, Ukrainian sea agent contacted ‘Biblus’ and demanded $900 as transportation charges; in other ports this sum doesn’t exceed $280. Even not considering this fact, in negotiations between Georgian and Chinese parties Ukrainian side didn’t figure at all and the cargo was to be taken to Tbilisi by Chinese Company. Now the Chinese Company is indicating the finger at Ukrainian dispatcher and they are demanding unheard-of sum for the arrested cargo. It is to be noted that the cargo was sent from China in October and it was due in Tbilisi in December; but even today it is stopped at the port in Ukraine and sums are accrued for keeping and demurrage of the container; the expenses almost exceed the cargo price. As the time passes there is increased danger and threat that the cargo will be auctioned or destroyed.
‘Biblus’, naturally, addressed the Chinese Business Attach? in Georgia. It took Georgian Company one week to meet him. Mr. She Dia Bao promised the Georgian Company that he would look into the matter and start action but the promise remained as promise. For due reaction Georgian Company once again addressed the Business Attach? and received such a response from his assistant: neither tomorrow, nor on Friday Mr. Attach? has time for meeting; he will be occupied next week as well and if something is changed, you will be informed. Hearing this I remembered a story about a mill in Racha (a district in Georgia) that bore such an inscription: not functioning today, tomorrow and the day after. Such bureaucracy and nonchalance on part of an Embassy representative, putting it mildly, is a bad gesture.
Valeri Nadirashvili (founder of Georgian-Chinese Trade Chamber): ‘We had business relations with China for years. We saw that there were problems in relations of Georgian and Chinese companies. These relations were not regulated by the state and the Embassy is less charged with them. Our business group founded Georgian-Chinese trade Chamber. We are connecting Georgian companies with the Chinese ones and vice versa. The information is checked both ways. Lately the cargo from China often gets not only in Illichivs’k but the ports of Turkey and Europe. On the one hand the reason is lack of professionalism but there is also a roguish scheme. When the carriers are in collusion with Chinese companies the cargo gets to other ports, often to Ukraine and extra charges are demanded for taking it to the place of destination. For example, if transportation of cargo from China to Georgia costs $2000 freight, sometimes actually the same amount is demanded for ‘buyout’ from Illichivs’k to Georgia. Prevention is always better - to find a professional carrier here, locally. Sometimes it happens so that a container is sent to a local receiver, it enters Georgia but actually the cargo may belong to somebody else, it may have another, real owner.
There are such roguish schemes at work that even solid companies get trapped. I can name about ten companies that suffered due to these schemes. Lately all these acquired a systematic character and certainly it is not accidental. The Chinese Business Attach? should naturally address the Chinese side in order to have reaction on similar facts. But for the time being there hasn’t been a single case of such reaction. It’d be good if our state too gets involved in identical cases in order not find our business in such unjust situation.
P.S. For comments ‘EcoPalitra’ addressed the Embassy of China in Georgia as well as Business Attach?. They jotted down the contact information and promised that they would make an official comment ‘the day after tomorrow’. From the private conversation it became known that according to the protocol the Embassy would address the busy Business Attache to study the case and he, on his part, will advise the Georgian side to address the Embassy of China in Georgia.
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