Racking up the bill: Thousands of NATO containers stranded

KPT authorities expect backlog to clear this week.


Kazim Alam July 23, 2012

KARACHI:


The ban on Nato supplies routes through Pakistan may have officially been lifted three weeks ago but the containers carrying goods for international forces stationed in Afghanistan remain stranded at the Karachi Port Trust (KPT).


The cargo has stood there for almost eight months now.

According to KPT General Manager (Operations) Rear Admiral Azhar Hayat, not a single container or vehicle of Nato supplies has left the KPT premises since July 3, when Pakistan officially reopened the ground lines of communication.

Islamabad had blocked Nato supplies on November 26, 2011, after the killing of two dozen soldiers in a Nato-led air raid on the Salala border post.

“There has been no clearance of Nato cargo at KPT so far, but we expect the process will begin in the current week,” Hayat told The Express Tribune adding there was no hindrance on the part of the KPT as consignees needed to get their cargoes cleared from the customs department.

There are 3,851 vehicles and 1,983 containers belonging to Nato currently stranded at the KPT.

When the supply routes were resumed some three weeks ago, port authorities expected to receive up to Rs2.2 billion from Nato for storing its containers and vehicles for an extended period of time. Known as demurrage charges, the expected amount has now exceeded Rs2.5 billion, according to Hayat.

At the average rate of 250 units per day, port authorities estimate it will take them roughly 24 days to clear the backlog, according to the KPT official. “However, the process is likely to take more time now, as productivity levels drop slightly during Ramazan, especially in government-run organisations,” he explained.

Moreover, the KPT has not entertained any vessels carrying Afghanistan-bound cargo in the last three weeks. Hayat offered no comment when asked about the possible reason for the delay on the part of Nato authorities to get their cargoes released from the KPT.

While talking to The Express Tribune two weeks ago, Hayat had said that the delay in Nato’s cargo clearance at the KPT was because it first wanted to clear supplies that were still on the highways or stranded on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Besides the KPT, incoming Nato containers are also handled at Port Qasim by the Karachi International Container Terminal (KICT) — a container terminal operator based within Port Qasim with five berths of its own.

When contacted, the spokesperson for Port Qasim was unavailable, and no one else from the KICT gave comments.


Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2012.

COMMENTS (23)

Hasan Mehmood | 9 years ago | Reply

@Mohd Butt:

I agree with you as follows:

Irrelevance of spelling mistakes 100% (Only the thought is important) Demurrage charges 100% (See my earlier comments) Life style / Work ethics of WEST 50% (They may have other lifestyle faults, but their sense of duty is much better)
Mohd Butt | 9 years ago | Reply

@Hasan Mehmood: Thanks for bing nice to make your point, however if you can ignore my misspelled english, then read my comments that west way is not the only way of life, yes they are more discipline but their life style and society is a package deal, one specific example can not be classified as all. We pay demurrage whatever is the reason and who ever is the reason, port authority got nothing to do with it. They simple apply the rule and ask for demurrage to be paid. It is universally implemented and accepted. Why not in Pakistan, our due rights are denied and then the giving is converted in to grand and asked to be obliged. I really respect west and America and even love them as they are but I do have my right to ask the way I like to live and work as society. I do respect Mr. Meekal if he has contribution to the economic however one should not be critisied by miss spell, who know what some one's speciality and accomplishment are? At The end i must say NATO must pay demurrage.

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