ISLAMABAD: The special committee on agricultural products has taken notice of the hurdles to mango exporters in wake of the coronavirus pandemic and rising transport charges.
Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, who heads the committee, deliberated on the upward revision of freight charges by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and logistical issues at the Taftan border. The committee urged CEO PIA to review the freight charges for mango export and report to the committee.
The meeting was informed that Pakistan exported more than 14,000 tonnes of mangoes worth Rs. 400 million to Iran each year. The special committee passed a resolution for facilitating mango export to regional countries and beyond.
In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent restriction of transboundary movement, the government of Pakistan and Iran mutually agreed to open the border for three days per week from 08:00 AM to 02:00 PM for vehicles carrying traded goods.
Iranian vehicles are allowed to enter Pakistan and on their way back carry Pakistani goods to Iran, however, Pakistani trucks are not allowed to enter Iran.
The number of Iranian containers is not only lesser but a predominantly larger number of them carry LPG from Iran and are unfit to carry mango shipments on their way back.
The perishable nature of the product, delay in permission for trucks to enter Iran through the Taftan border results in significant losses to mango exporters as well as the loss of foreign exchange to the country.
The committee recommended that the Ministry of Interior should take appropriate and urgent measures during COVID-19 for opening operations at the Taftan border, five days a week, during the mango season with extended timings to facilitate mango exports to Iran.
Additionally, the committee recommended that Pakistani vehicles carrying mango shipments should be allowed to transport mango at Iranian ports or arrangements for a minimum of 100 containers should be made which can transport mangoes to Iran excluding vehicles carrying LPG.