Nato supplies: Truckers seek clarity over procedural issues
KARACHI, July 4: Even after the government decision on Tuesday to reopen the Ground Lines of Communication (GLoC) it would take some time before Nato/Isaf supplies are fully restored because of several outstanding issues begging settlement.
Official sources told Dawn on Wednesday that the customs authorities will have to frame modalities. Besides a large number of freight disputes pertaining to stuck up cargo close to Pak-Afghan border areas will have to be settled between clearing agents and the truckers who suffered immensely for the past seven months.
Nasir Paracha, clearing agent for Nato/Isaf cargo, told Dawn that around 1,200 containers loaded on trailer trucks had been stranded close to border areas ever since Pakistan disallowed use of GLOC by Nato/Isaf after the Salala attack killing 24 Pakistani soldiers last November.
Though cargo inside port areas could take 10 to 20 days for getting clearance but there seems to be no dispute over the cargo standard near border areas and hoped it could cross into Afghanistan any time once freight disputes are settled.
He further said for the Nato/Isaf cargo stacked inside bonded areas of Karachi Port and Port Qasim a procedure has yet to be laid down and a notification is also awaited from the customs authorities.
However, he hoped that issues pertaining to Nato/Isaf cargo will be resolved at the earliest because already long delay has caused a lot of hardships to all the stakeholders in the haulage business. Mr Paracha admitted that there was a shortage of trailer trucks because most of the owners are reluctant to engage their vehicles in Nato/Isaf cargo haulage because of threats being given by different groups for torching their vehicles.
He urged the government to ensure the security and safety of vehicles carrying Nato/Isaf cargo.
An official at the Karachi Port, requesting anonymity, said it was not a simple issue as many disputes would first have to be resolve prior to resuming smooth haulage of Nato/Isaf cargo.
Meanwhile, customs authorities told Dawn that Nato/Isaf cargo clearance was carried out under SRO601/2011 wherein US army cargo was directly cleared through Pakistan Automation Customs Clearance (PaCCs). However, Isaf cargo was cleared after Goods Declaration (GDs) were submitted with customs authorities.
After necessary amendment in the SRO 601, they said it was expected that US army cargo would also be subjected to submission of GDs with the customs authorities.
Presently around 8,359 containers and vehicles are stranded at the two ports Karachi and Qasim for over seven months. Out of these 5,834 containers and vehicles are at the Karachi port area and 2,525 boxes loaded with Humvee vehicles widely used by US forces in Afghan war are at Port Qasim.