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KARACHI: Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (Reap) has suggested the government to devise a strategy that allows export of maximum 20 percent empty containers aimed at ensuring availability of containers for export to Pakistan.

For the past few months, the availability of empty containers for export purposes is quite difficult in the country, which is directly hurting goods’ exports particularly rice and textile.

Reap has approached the Ministry of Commerce to resolve this issue on top priority to safeguard Pakistan’s export. Senior Vice Chairman REAP Muhammad Anwar Mianoor has raised this issue in a letter sent to Kausar Ali Zaidi Director General (Agro) Ministry of Commerce.

According to a letter some steps are immediately required to be taken to safeguard the country’s exports to important markets across the globe including China and Malaysia.

Pakistan is a net import country and with excess inflow of containers. However, the exporters are unable to utilize this as an opportunity in providing export of containers from Pakistan as majority of the containers are being exported empty to other origins for getting better freight by shipping company, Anwar Mianoor pointed out.

“The government of Pakistan should devise a strategy to allow a maximum of 20 percent export of empty containers and to ensure remaining 80 percent empty containers must be available for export of Pakistani goods including rice and textile,” he suggested.

He mentioned that Pakistan’s neighboring country India has already taken this step to support the export sector. Presently, a number of export cargo is lying at ports and waiting for vessel spaces but unavailability of empty containers is directly hurting Pakistan’s export as well as foreign exchange earnings, he added.

The Government of Pakistan should take this matter on a war footing basis and support not only rice exporters but other export-based industries by providing sustainable supply chain solutions, and making Pakistan one of the reliable sources to originate products, Anwar Mianoor urged.

He informed that during this pandemic period, Malaysia has become one of the major markets for Pakistani Origin rice. “If we focus on this market Pakistan can easily market and sell about 500,000 MTS of Pakistani rice,” he added.

On the other hand, China is also a very big market for Pakistan this year, with a potential of about one million tons of rice exports. However, all exports are linked with the timely availability of empty containers.

SVC Reap informed that this year Pakistan has achieved a bumper rice crop and sufficient supplies are available for the exports purpose.

“If the government does not take necessary and immediate measures, it will be very damaging for the exporters, traders, farmers and the entire supply chain, but also Pakistan will lose potential millions of dollars foreign exchange earnings that supports the external sector,” he maintained.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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