Supplies for Nato troops in Afghanistan will be resumed today (Monday) after a breakthrough in negotiations between transporters and freight companies.
Nato supplies were suspended on January 1, after differences developed between the two stakeholders.
All Pakistan Transporters Union (APGTU) spokesperson Israrullah Shinwari said on Sunday that the companies’ representatives have agreed to the transporters’ demands, which included life insurance for drivers and conductors, increase in transportation charges and allowing vehicle owners to make deals with a company of their choice.
Transporters had demanded up to Rs1 million insurance, saying they are often targeted en route from Khyber Agency and Balochistan by unidentified militants.
“A committee will be formed where the representatives of both sides will negotiate on the increase in fares keeping in view the increase in fuel prices and other transportation charges,” Shinwari added. The transporters carrying goods for Nato forces from Karachi to Kabul had been charging between Rs200,000 to Rs250,000. They demanded the fare be doubled considering the risks involved.
By agreeing to end the monopoly of logistic companies over transporters, the latter will now be able to accept contracts with companies offering better fares, he added.
Captain Mustafa of the All Pakistan Custom Bonded Carrier Association confirmed that they have held multiple meetings with transporters over the bonded carrier system. He added that the FBR had issued a notification on January 31 in which it said that it would make the system more “flexible” for transporters.
The meeting also agreed to form a separate committee to assess the damages and pay compensation if a vehicle was damaged or destroyed by militants en route to Kabul. The committee will comprise members of both sides as well as vehicle owners.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2013.