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KARACHI: Ministry of Commerce has suggested that only 20 percent of containers may be allowed to go empty from Pakistan, aimed to ensure timely availability of containers for export purposes.

For the past few months, Rice Exporters of the Association of Pakistan (REAP) has been raising voice against the higher freight and unavailability of containers for export shipments.

Recently, REAP representatives not only highlighted this issue in a press conference but also approached the Ministry of Commerce to resolve it on a priority basis as exporters are facing hardship in timely shipments of their export orders due to the unavailability of containers.

Muhammad Anwar Mianoor, Senior Vice Chairman REAP, suggested the government devise a strategy that allows the export of a maximum of 20 percent empty containers aimed at ensuring the availability of containers for export.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Commerce for considering REAP’s proposals to cope with the serious issue of container availability for export purposes has suggested exporting only 20 percent empty containers.

Kausar Ali Zaidi, Director General (Agro Mincom), on the direction of the Secretary of Commerce, has written a letter to the Secretary Ministry of Maritime Affair that only 20 percent containers may be allowed to go empty from Pakistan and 80 percent should be filled with export cargo.

Containers for export of goods: REAP urges army chief to help resolve issue

DG Agro has also requested the Ministry of Maritime Affair to take immediate actions in the interest of Pakistan and for ensuring the continuation of rice and other commodities to reach their export destinations.

According to Muhammad Anwar Mianoor for the past few months, the availability of empty containers for export purposes is quite difficult in the country and is directly hurting goods’ exports, particularly rice.

He said that some steps are immediately required to safeguard the country’s goods exports to important markets across the globe, particularly leading rice importing countries like China and Malaysia.

Anwar said that Pakistan’s imports are higher than exports that resulting in an excess inflow of containers. However, the majority of the containers are being exported empty to other origins for getting better freight by shipping companies.

He has shown his gratitude to the Ministry of Commerce for considering REAP’s proposals to cope with the serious issue of container availability for export purposes. He confirmed that the Ministry of Commerce has addressed a letter to the Secretary, Ministry of Maritime Affair to resolve the issue of container availability to facilitate rice exports from Pakistan. He also mentioned that India has already taken this step to support its export sector.

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 metric tons of Pakistani rice to earn millions of dollars in foreign exchange,” he added. This year Pakistan has achieved a bumper rice crop and sufficient supplies are available for the exports purpose, but there is a need to facilitate the exporters to boost the exports, he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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