Revenue Board delays clearance of Afghan transit cargo

KARACHI (July 16 2003) : Despite repeated announcements by the high-ups in the Ministry of Finance that the SRO culture would be eliminated, an impending notification by the Central Bard of Revenue (CBR) has delayed clearance of Afghan transit cargo from Port Qasim.

The Pak-Afghan Joint Commission, at a meeting held in Kabul about two months ago had decided to include Port Qasim as the second entry port for Afghan Transit Trade Service (ATTS).

The Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT), in line with the decision made by the two governments, has made elaborate arrangements for the clearance of Afghan transit cargo.

These included a well-equipped Afghan transit shed with railway sidings for onward transportation of the cargo to Peshawar and then to Kabul by road.

The Port Qasim Authority also informed the QICT about the decision.

The necessary Customs staff has already been deputed to the shed, but it is not functioning for want of an official notification by the CBR.

Several reminders have been sent to the CBR and the Ministry of Finance but to no avail.

The shipping lines, which presently have to bear extra cost for transportation of containers destined for Afghanistan to the Karachi Port in bonded carriers for clearance, daily inquire the Port authorities about implementation of such a vital decision.

The Port Qasim is most suitable port for Afghan transit cargo, as it is linked to the upcountry through National Highway as well as a twice-weekly cargo train service.

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