Afghan Traders Suffers Losses; Demand Clearance of Transit Cargo in Pakistan
Traders involved in Afghan transit trade and bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan said they suffered losses amounting to billions in local currency, waiting for their cargo to be cleared at the Karachi port.
Clearance delays of up to 5-12 days is faced by traders sending cargo to Afghanistan, a member of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry told the Daily Times. In comparison, domestic cargo maybe cleared in less than four days.
Afghanistan is landlocked and has signed a transit trade deal with Pakistan in 1965 which was revised in 2010. Afghan traders are allowed to use the Karachi port and now the Gwadar port to import goods and then use the overland route to get them across to Afghanistan.
Traders are facing mounting losses due to the clearance delays because shipping companies generally provide 21 days free detention including clearance time. When you add the delay and the eventual transport timing, it takes at least a month to complete the cycle of returning the empty container back to the shipping company. Traders are liable to pay US$ 100-120 per day as detention charges to the shipping company.
Delays are happening due to the compulsory physical examination and scan of the cargo. There is only one scanning machine at each Karachi port while hundreds of consignments arrive every day.
Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, many transit cargo containers have been lying at the Karachi port under severe demurrage and detention charges.
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