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Port Qasim storage capacity to rise by 30 percent

KARACHI (May 26 2003) : The storage capacity at Port Qasim is to increase by 30 percent as the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (Minfal) has agreed to lift its fertiliser stocks lying at the Port since 1996.

The ministry has paid millions of rupees in demurrage on the redundant fertiliser stocks occupying space at the Port Qasim Shed-A, said sources at Port Qasim.

Minfal has sought permission from the communication ministry to lift the 2,260 tonnes of fertiliser with an undertaking that balance demurrage will be paid.

A hug amount of demurrage had accumulated on the fertiliser stocks, which was not disposed of by Minfal despite several requests by the PQA.

The latter had cleared demurrage charges up to January 2002.

The portion of Shed-A which would be vacated after fertiliser is lifted would be used for storage of wheat and other cargo.

The space in question forms 30 percent of the total storage area of the shed.

The fertiliser was imported by the fertiliser import directorate (FID) of Minfal in 1996.

While most of the stocks was lifted by buyers and the remaining stocks was left as a result of some dispute with the buyer.

The PQA traffic department retrieved more storage space in Shed-A by burning redundant stocks of rice owned by the defunct Rice Exporters Association, wheat and pulses, which have been lying at the Port since 1997.

Earlier, the Customs cancelled its plans to auction the stocks when the laboratory test confirmed their status as not fit for human consumption.

The goods were put in a cage by the Port authorities separating them from other stored items and their destruction on May 5, has created additional 500 square yards space.

The PQA management has praised the policies of the present government, which has adopted effective measures for the clearance of redundant goods lying at both the Karachi Port and the Port Qasim.

It referred to the offer made by the communication ministry for clearance of long stayed goods on only 30 percent payment while the remaining 70 percent would be waived.

It said that the decision taken by the two previous governments to dispose of long stayed goods were never implemented sincerely.

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