Govt impounding containers will lead to losses: Exporters

Exporters have started fearing losses for the government’s move of impounding containers to counter the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led protest and march towards Islamabad.

In an immediate reaction to the seizure of thousands of containers across the country by the multiparty government, the exporters of fruit and vegetables have claimed that the export of horticulture products has started hampering by the blockage of major roads and seizure of containers to prevent long march.

In a statement issued by Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association, the developing situation in the country would badly affect the export of perishable items including the potatoes, onions and mangoes.

According to the association the containers and trawler bound for port with export consignment have been stopped for blocking roads. Apart from the already loaded containers, a large number of empty containers were also stopped on the way to block roads and major arteries of the country.

“In case the seizure of containers continues for a couple of days the export orders would be delayed, ultimately causing huge losses to the exporters,” said Waheed Ahmed of the horticulture association.

According to him, for delayed supply the fruit and vegetable export orders may be canceled, which would also cause loss of the export market.

“This is very unfortunate that governments use the export oriented containers and trucks to block roads as a strategy to prevent protests and rallies in the country. Such initiatives badly affect the already crisis stricken trade and exports of the country,” the association said.

“Whenever our exports are delayed the importers, as an immediate and alternative solution, approach Indian exporters for import of such items,” Waheed claims adding that buyers refuse to accept the goods that are delivered late.

The exporters have demanded early release of the containers and trawlers.

This practice has been in vogue in Pakistan in order to stop agitators and strikers from gathering at one particular spot where they announce to protest on a particular date. The impounding started a few days before the proposed march and continues unabated. Any container that leaves a mill or factory fully loaded with export consignment gets impounded.

All containers from upcountry are booked for Karachi from where they are loaded on ships waiting for goods at the Karachi sea port. These ships follow a strict schedule. If the consignment does not reach the port in time, these ships leave for other destinations.

Pakistan’s major exports are textiles that have to be delivered to the global consumers within the promised date. When a ship leaves Karachi port without export goods, the chances of timely delivery vanish as few ships touch our ports and the next ship might come late.

The exporters may rightly be worried because they have no idea as to when these containers would be released.

 

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Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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