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KARACHI: The import of essential commodities, by the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP), has picked up momentum as three more vessels of imported wheat and sugar have reached Pakistan to meet the domestic demand.

In pursuance of the federal government directives, the TCP is importing wheat and sugar from worldwide sources to avoid shortage in the domestic market. During the last one week, two shipments of sugar and one consignment of wheat were arrived.

The TCP's fourth vessel MV Oceanic Leader, carrying 51,250 metric tons of imported wheat, was birthed at Port Qasim on October 30, 2020. The discharging of the imported commodity has also commenced and as per allocation by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, the entire cargo will be handed over to the Food Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).

Out of the allocated quantity, KP has so far lifted 110,000 metric tons of imported wheat. With the arrival of the fourth shipment, overall wheat arrival under the TCP's import rose to 220,000 metric tons. In addition, the government of Punjab has so far lifted some 56,457 metric tons of wheat, arrived through third shipment.

Similarly, following the directives of the federal government, TCP is also importing sugar to fill the supply and demand gap and bring the prices down in the local market. Overall, two sugar consignments have been arrived during the last one week.

The first shipment of imported sugar arrived on Wednesday, while the second shipment reached Pakistan on Friday. A vessel namely MV Ince Evrenye, carrying 25,250 metric tons of imported sugar was arrived at Port Qasim on 28th October, 2020.

Second ship MV Minoan Grace carrying some 52,200 metric tons of sugar was reached on Saturday and anchored at Karachi Port Trust. As per allocation by the Ministry of Industries & Production, the entire quantity will be handed over to the Food Department Government of Punjab directly from the Port.

Punjab will sell sugar at a cheaper price compared to prevailing market prices. Market is expecting that the arrival of sugar will help to decrease prices of Sugar in the Market.

The TCP has signed contracts for the import of some one million metric ton wheat and some 0.15 million sugar to meet the domestic demand and ensure price stability.

The Corporation will open another tender for the import of 0.32 million tons wheat on November 3, 2020. However, the state run grain trader has made some changes in the sixth international wheat import tender.

As per amendment, condition of shipment schedule has been amended for import of wheat and some 20 days relaxation has been given to the suppliers for the supply of wheat. Previously, the successful bidder(s) was required to ship the entire quantity by 31st January, 2021 under the latest tender to be opened on Tuesday. Now, after the amendment, the successful bidder(s) will be required to ship the entire tendered quantity of 320,000 metric tons in such a way that the entire quantity must be arrived by 20th February, 2021.

However, the TCP will remain has the right to change/revise the shipments schedule according to the awarded quantity and port availability/situation etc, at the time of issuing the Award letter or within Laycan time. In addition, in case Letter of Credit (LC) is delayed due to any fault of suppliers, the shipment date will be calculated from the date of award instead of opening of LC.

TCP has also made some amendments for late shipment penalty and if the goods are not shipped within the contracted period, the buyers will accept late shipment for a maximum period of five (05) days subject to payment by the sellers of penalty @US$ 0.25 per metric ton per day. Any further extension will be at the sole discretion of buyer at seller's risk and cost to be determined by TCP. Previously, the late maximum late shipment period was 7 days.

The country is facing a serious shortage of wheat and sugar in the local market. The prices of wheat flour have surged to a historical level of Rs 80 per kilogram and sugar prices reached Rs 115 per kilogram in the domestic market.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020