KARACHI : The transportation of cargo from Pakistan to Afghanistan under Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (ATTA) has come to a standstill due to transporters strike on two sides of the Durand Line. The country s ports are likely to face congestion as hundreds of containers, carrying cargo to Afghanistan, are said to be stuck up at the three container terminals, PICT, QICT and KICT, because of the strike.
Some 500 to 600 containers are awaiting transportation at various terminals, the sources close to the ports and dealing with the trade told Business Recorder on Friday. According to sources, the transporters unions on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border after several rounds of failed talks with Afghan government went on strike some four days back in protest of the imposition of Transportation Tax by the Afghan government.With Islamabad appearing completely unaware of the issue, the crisis is said to have taken place a couple of weeks back when Kabul declared to collect 5,000 Afghanis from every vehicle entering the war-stricken country through Pakistan borders at Chaman and Torkham.
Sources said that the announcement fell heavily on the transporters of the two countries dealing with ATT and they announced a strike until withdrawal of the levy. As a result, hundreds of containers-laden trailers were now stuck on the Karachi-Torkham ATT route at various points like GT Road, Jamrood, Takhta Baig, Shahgai Fort, Nowshera Ring Road and Torkham, they added.
Worst hit is the NLC s Aman Garh godown at Nowshera where, the sources from Peshawar said, dozens of trailers with hundreds of containers were awaiting clearance to travel further. Aman Garh godown is packed with some 250 containers, Riazuddin Nizami told Business Recorder from Peshawar.
The border agent said in view of the strike the National Logistic Cell (NLC) has stopped taking demands from the clearing agents in Karachi. Nizami said the suspension of transportation was costing the consignees millions of rupees on account of port demurrage. At present 47 of my containers are stuck at KICT what to talk of over 300 other border agents hailing from here (Peshawar) and Karachi, he said. In a move that may have some links with the issue in question, the local Customs officials during last few days are said to have toughened rules for the clearance of ATTA commercial cargo.
The appraisement officers have started asking for original copy of the Import License, cross border certification and ATTIs (Afghan Transit Trade Invoice), something that is almost impossible to get by the clearing agents, a clearing agent dealing with the trade told Business Recorder.
He claimed that the present strictness was the result of a recent dispute between the Customs officials (appraisement) from Karachi and those (intelligence) from Peshawar over the mis-declaration of liquor nabbed in 47 containers at Karachi Port.
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