Complaining thousands of Afghanistan-bound shipping containers are stuck at the Karachi Port over slow scanning of transit cargo, the businesspersons have demanded of the federal government to take immediate measures to address the issue.
During a meeting with director general (transit trade), Karachi, Raza Ahmad Khan at Customs House here on Saturday, the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry office-bearers led by president Maqsood Anwar Pervaiz said the government should ensure the early clearance of containers with the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement goods to facilitate bilateral trade.Mr Pervaiz said around 7,000 goods containers bound for Afghanistan had got stuck at the Karachi Port and thus, harming bilateral trade.
He said container clearance was slowed first on the pretext of Covid-19 pandemic and later in the name of scanning to the misery of the goods exporters and importers.
Frontier Customs Agency Association president Ziaul Haq Sarhadi also complained that delay in the clearance of containers and trucks at the port was adversely impacting transit trade.
He said heavy demurrage and detention charges at Karachi Port had pushed the lockdown-hit business community into economic depression.
Mr Sarhadi called for the immediate withdrawal of those charges.He said following the directives of the Federal Board of Revenue, 100 per cent examination of transit trade containers was being carried out at Karachi port, while the additional checking of goods trucks was conducted at Torkham border slowing down Pakistan’s mutual and transit trade with Afghanistan.
The SCCI leaders demanded five per cent container examination at Karachi Port to accelerate bilateral and transit trade.
They also called for the installation of more scanning machines at the port and signing of an agreement with multiple companies for tracking system.
The SCCI leaders said the clearing and checking of transit trade containers and trucks should be expedited at Karachi Port and on Torkham border.
They called for the dismantling of an ‘illegal’ terminal in Mattani area near Bara tehsil.
The SCCI leaders also sought permission for empty trucks and containers stuck in Afghanistan to move to the Torkham border for onward movement to Karachi.
They urged the federal government to withdraw SRO 121 and said container cargo and transportation of loose-cargo to Afghanistan should also be allowed to remove the monopoly of bonded carriers.
The SCCI leaders suggested the holding of a meeting of Pak-Afghan Joint Liaison Committee after every two months.
Director (transit trade) Peshawar Amjadur Rehman, additional directors Jan Bahadur and Mohammad Tayyab, deputy director Inamullah Wazir, FCCA senior vice-president and chairman of the SCCI Standing Committee on Land Route Imtiaz Ahmad Ali, Afghan Transit Trade Association general secretary Farooq Ahmad and member of the TTA Fazal Shinwari were present in the meeting.