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KARACHI: Protests against power outages on Mauripur Road brought the cargo vehicular movement to a halt since Monday evening as hundreds of containers, trucks etc stuck on arteries leading to the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) – the country’s largest and busiest seaport.

Sources in fruits and vegetables sector told Business Recorder that around hundreds of export containers of perishable fruits and vegetables worth Rs 250 million are stuck up on roads leading to the KPT.

They said from Gulbai to Keamari and from Punjab Chowrangi to Native Jetty Bridge, and Nallah stop, some 100 containers of mangoes and potatoes besides hundreds of other cargo vehicles remained stuck on roads for the last 24 hours.

Senior Vice-President All Pakistan Oil Tanker Owners Association (APOTOA) Shams Shawani told this scribe that the upcountry fuel transportation has disrupted as around 400 oil tankers stuck on the port city roads during the last 24 hours.

He urged the government to immediately clear roads and said: “These oil carriers can be potential risks of fires or explosions as charged protesters take to various roads against power outages in the metropolis. A number of tanker drivers have been deprived of their mobiles by robbers, last night”.

However, the Port authorities said that the actual activities and cargo handlings are intact inside the port. A KPT spokesman said that port’s gates are open, fresh consignments have started entering into the port, and traffic movement has also been restored.

On the other hand, exporters said roads are still not clear as police has blocked vehicles at various points. Heavy vehicles coming from Northern Bypass or Hub Chowki have stopped by police near Musharaf colony, they said.

These sea-freight containers of fruits and vegetables have been loaded from Karachi as well as upcountry, which are being exported to Gulf region including Saudi Arab, and Oman, and Fareast region including Singapore, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka, sources said.

They said as soon as the containers will enter into the port terminal, they need electricity to start their cooling system to maintain ideal storage temperature.

They urged the government and relevant departments to come forward and clear roads, and give passage for the export containers immediately on a priority basis so that they can enter into the port, or else fruits and vegetables will become perished in this sizzling summer, resulting into significant quality as well as financial losses due to this supply chain management disruption.

The exporters have also approached Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) requesting the apex trade body to get this issue resolved through deliberations with the Sindh government, and law enforcement agencies including the police.

Shabbir Hassan Mansha Churra, Vice-President FPCCI has also confirmed the news of road closure. While talking to Business Recorder on phone, he said such impediments in exports could add to the woes of an already fragile economy.

The power-hit residents of the densely populated Lyari have stage sit-in on Mauripur Road to protest against prolonged power cuts, and water crisis. They said they will continue to block the road – the only artery that connects country’s biggest port with Karachi as long as the power utility does not ensure provision of electricity to their homes.

The protesters said an elderly woman was killed after being tortured by the police during the protest demonstration. However, the SSP city has categorically rejected the allegation.

In a statement, he termed the incident as natural death.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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