KARACHI: Imports and exports have fallen heavily as angry cargo and goods transporters have continued their strike for 8th day against axle load management policy.
A 22-wheeler vehicle is permitted to carry 58.5 tons as per law but the new axle load management policy has restricted this limit to 32 tons for triple-axle vehicles which has angered transporters.
Fruit and vegetable exporters have suffered an estimated loss of around $1.5 million in a week while the government in its talks with the transporters failed to convince them to end their strike. Cargo containers filled with kinnows, potatoes and onions have been parked on roads with nobody transporting them to the ports.
Truckers fear that axle load policy will lead to an unprecedented increase in the prices of daily use commodities in the country and have demanded the government to devise an economic policy in consultation with all the stakeholders, including the wholesalers, the retailers and the commission agents, to overcome the increasing prices of daily-use commodities.
It has been learnt that about 1,400 goods containers carrying kinnows, potatoes and onions have not been able to reach the ports for their shipment abroad. The strike has badly affected commercial activities across the country as containers arriving from other countries are piling up at ports.
Delivery of imported raw materials to factories has been affected, thus slowing down production and textile exporters have suffered the most.
President of Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Association Waheed Ahmed said the current situation of our economy cannot afford a goods transport strike as delay in the completion of export orders will result in the cancellation of deals while new orders will be given to Indian exporters.
Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA ) Chairman Jawed Bilwani said the government seems to be nowhere the exporters are suffering the most due to the transporters strike. He demanded the government to take immediate notice of the situation and end the cargo transporters’ strike.
According to the Jawed, Karachi ports handles about 9,827 containers on daily-basis which include 4,665 export containers and 5,162 import containers.