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LAHORE: Expressing concern over axle load restrictions recently slapped by the Punjab Government, Haseeb Ali Khan, Senior Vice Chairman, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has claimed that transporters have refused to load paddy from farms to mills due to the implementation of this law.

The Basmati Paddy season in Punjab and Sindh is in full swing. The Transporters have refused to load Paddy from farms due to load restrictions as it now requires almost double transportation carriers to effectively transport paddy from fields to mills within stipulated time (24-Hours post-harvest) for it to dry & avoid mycotoxins generation.

Pakistan had received over 40 rapid alerts from EU in Year 2022 for aflatoxins in rice but Rice exporters effective management reduced it to 10 only in Year 2023. The Current load restriction causing huge delays in paddy being transported to mills due to low transportation availability & generation of mycotoxin may risk over 400,000 Tons of trade worth USD-500 Million annually.

He iterated the need to enhance transportation carriers first before implementation of such law so that there will be availability of enough carriers to ship Paddy to dryers in timely & effective manner.

He requested to delay implementation of such law by 2-months or to exempt Paddy / Rice transportation for the movement. It is feared that the transporters refusal would cause heavy losses to farmers as well as rice exporters.

According to All Pakistan Transport Workers Union, before the introduction of Axle Load a 22 wheeler trawler used to carry 74 ton, 18 Wheeler = 60 Ton, 14 wheeler trawler = 50 Ton, 10 wheeler trawler = 45 ton, 6 wheeler Hino = 26 Ton and Mazda vehicle 13 Ton.

All Pakistan Transporters had also announced strike on Monday and it would cause further delays and de-gradation of grain at farms. REAP requests the government to look into the matter and resolve the issue on urgent basis so that export may not suffer.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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