NATO goods: Supply remains suspended as strike continues

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PESHAWAR: North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) supplies to Afghanistan remain suspended as negotiations over transportation charges and insurance failed between transporters and logistics companies on Friday. Transporters suspended the supply of goods to Nato forces from Torkham and Chaman borders on January 1, 2013 after differences developed with the logistics companies.

According to the All Pakistan Goods Transporters Union (APGTU) spokesperson, Israrullah Shinwari, the transporters had asked the companies to double the transportation fares.

The transporters carrying goods for Nato forces from Karachi to Kabul had been charging between Rs200,000 to Rs250,000. After realising the risk involved, they demanded the fare be doubled.

“The entire route from Karachi to Kabul is not safe for Nato goods’ transporters but in return for our services we are paid peanuts.” Shinwari added “the companies need to understand the risk involved in the business.”

Transporters also demanded up to Rs1 million in insurance for drivers, conductors and vehicles saying they are often targeted en route from Khyber Agency and Balochistan by militants.

For vehicles which get damaged or destroyed en route to Kabul, companies have been asked to assess and compensate damages through a body constituted of representatives from logistic companies and the transport union.

The logistics companies did not agree to meet the transporters’ demands after which the union decided to continue their strike, said Shinwari.

APGTU also opposed the new system which gives authorised companies monopoly over transporters. Vehicle owners are now bound to do business with the logistics company they register their vehicle with.

“If the logistics company, with which the vehicle is registered, does not have goods to transport, they [transporters] cannot make a deal to carry another company’s goods.”

Shinwari asserted the new strategy was unacceptable for the transporters. As done previously, transporters should be free to make deals with logistic companies which offer a better deal.

“Binding a vehicle with a company is against free market rules.  This benefits big businessmen instead of the transporters who bear all the risk,” he said. “Drivers and conductors who had lost their lives while transporting goods to Nato have never been compensated by the companies so far, he added.


Courtesy: Tribune

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