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Wednesday 23 January 2013

Afghan Chamber of Commerce Wants Calls to Boycott Karachi Port


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KABUL (Pajhwok Afghan News) – The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) on Tuesday asked Afghan businessmen to avoid exports and imports through Pakistan’s Karachi sea port. The traders’ body also made an appeal to the government to suspend a reciprocal concession to Pakistani trucks to carry goods without duty to Central Asian states under the transit trade agreement.

The Port of Karachi is one of the South Asia’s largest and busiest seaports, handling about 60% of the Pakistan’s cargo (25 mln tons/year). The flow of cargo to and from the port is hampered by severe congestion in the harbour with several other maritime facilities located close to the port. It also faces competition from a new private terminal located 5 km to the west. The geographic position of the port places it in close proximity to major shipping routes such as the Strait of Hormuz.

“Pakistan has signed an agreement with Tajikistan on the import of 30,000 tonnes of sugar. The government should not allow the imports through Afghanistan until the neighbouring country addresses the problems of Afghan traders at the Karachi port,” ACCI deputy chief executive Khan Jan Alokozai told a press conference in Kabul.

Alokozai claimed 3,000 containers carrying goods of Afghan traders had been stuck at the Karachi port over the past 70 days, with Afghans paying $200 in service charges daily. He added the traders had incurred $60,000 losses so far due to the blockade that Alokozai alleged had enabled the Pakistanis to steal Afghan goods from the containers.

Alokozai also accused Pakistan of creating hurdles to Afghan traders shipping their goods from Karachi to the Torkham border crossing.

The Pakistanis were approached time and again to address the problems, but they were yet to take measures, he continued. “The Pakistanis use various excuses to keep our demands unmet,” alleged the trader representative, who claimed officials at the Afghan Ministry of Commerce and Industries had refused to accept his call for an immediate ban on the entry of Pakistani trucks to Afghanistan for their onward journey to Central Asian states. “I held talks with them today but returned empty-handed,” Alokozai said of his talks with the officials.

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