Sit-ins cause disruption to kinnow export

Exporters unable to send containers to port due to lack of transport vehicles


Usman Hanif January 09, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

As protests and sit-ins continue in different parts of Karachi in the wake of killing of 11 coal miners in Mach, the export of kinnow is facing disruption.

Export of the citrus fruit remained suspended on Friday as some major roads of the city were blocked for the fourth consecutive day.

"Exporters are likely to face hefty financial losses due to the lack of transport vehicles for carrying kinnow export containers to the seaport," said All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) Patronin-Chief Waheed Ahmed in remarks to The Express Tribune.

 "Nearly 400 export containers of the fruit worth $4.6 million are sitting idle in wait for arrangement of proper transportation."

If reefer containers were not supplied with electricity to maintain a specific temperature, hundreds of tons of kinnow may rot, with businessmen trying to arrange their transportation to the port, he said.

Owing to the acute shortage of reefer containers as well as vessels, freight charges for fruit export had soared four times over the past few days, he said.

Exporters are already suffering financial losses and the roadblocks will multiply their problems.

"We request the government to resolve this issue on a priority basis and order the removal of barriers immediately to ensure smooth transportation of export containers to the seaport," said Ahmed.

Dawood Hercules Corporation Research Lead Karim Punjani said internal transport had indeed been affected due to the sit-ins as well as goods transport for export.

Containers were also not available for goods export due to the disruption to international trade in the wake of Covid-19 lockdowns, he said.

"Sit-ins are having an adverse impact on export," said Korangi Association of Trade and Industry's Standing Committee for Port and Shipping member Farazur Rehman.

He added that congestion at the port was also increasing because import containers were stranded as traders were unable to offload them and supply to different parts of the country.

"Transporters are compelled to use the Northern Bypass to carry merchandise from one place to another while their actual route is through the National Highway or Super Highway," he said.

"If this situation continues for a long time, it can lead to a total shutdown, therefore, the government should resolve it."

"Exporters are trying to mitigate the negative impact, which is why things have been moving in a normal way so far," remarked Topline Research Deputy Head of Research Shankar Talreja.

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