Foreign shipping lines may stop Pakistan operations


Islamabad: Pakistan shipping agents have forewarned the government that all export cargoes could come to a halt as foreign shipping lines are considering stopping their services for the country after banks stopped remitting freight charges to them for lack of dollar availability.

Apart from bordering countries, almost all the international logistics from Pakistan are catered by sea and any disruption could create serious issues for the country’s international trade, Dawn news quoted chairman of Pakistan Ship’s Agents Association (PSAA) Abdul Rauf warning Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in a letter.

“If the international trade is stopped the economic situation will worsen,” the association warned, adding that the foreign shipping lines are already considering winding up their services in Pakistan due to reduced cargo volumes.

Rauf requested the ministries and departments concerned to intervene to ensure continuity in Pakistan’s seaborne trade by allowing outward remittance of surplus freight amounts to respective foreign shipping lines forthwith.

“Due to discontinuation of outward remittance of surplus freight amounts to respective foreign shipping lines, was hampering Pakistan’s seaborne trade which is heavily dependent on foreign shipping lines,” the letter added.

However, the crisis relates to the export cargoes as all the outward trade from Pakistan is container-based, as there are no liquid or grain exports from the country, Dawn reported.

The state-owned Pakistan National Shipping Company (PNSC) only handles imports of crude oil and other petroleum fuel through its 12 vessels.

The annual freight bill of Pakistan is around $5 billion, and foreign companies receive the charges in international currencies mainly the “greenback”.

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( With inputs from )

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