Foreign shipping lines may stop service to cash-strapped Pakistan: Report

ISLAMABAD: Shipping agents have warned the cash-strapped Pakistani government that all exports could come to a halt as foreign shipping lines are considering stopping their services to the country after banks’ The goods stopped shipping to them due to a lack of dollars. a media report on Saturday.
Apart from bordering countries, almost all international logistics services from Pakistan are served by sea and any disruption could create serious problems for trade. the country’s international, Pakistan Ship Dealers Association President (PSAA) Abdul Rauf warned finance minister Ishaq Dar through a letter.
“If international trade is stopped, the economic situation will worsen,” the association warned, adding that foreign shipping lines are considering ending their services in Pakistan. due to a decrease in the volume of goods.
The PSAA president also wrote to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor Jameel Ahmed, commerce minister Syed Naveed Namar and maritime affairs minister Faisal Sabzwari, Dawn reported.
Rauf has requested the relevant ministries and departments to intervene to ensure the continuity of Pakistan’s seaborne trade by allowing the immediate transfer of excess cargo abroad to the respective foreign shipping lines.
The letter added: “Due to the cessation of overseas transfer of excess cargo to the respective foreign shipping lines, it has hampered the seaborne trade of Pakistan which is heavily dependent on foreign shipping lines.”
Rehman Malik, who has worked as an agent and is a member of the All Pakistan Customs Agents Association, said he has never seen a worse time in his 40 years of working in the field.
“We have thousands of shipping containers held at the Port of Karachi because of payment guarantees and most of them contain essential items such as medicines, diagnostic equipment, raw materials, chemicals and food,” he said. Products”.
“You can see how all of this is hurting our manufacturing industries,” he said.
Maqbool Malik, president of the customs association, said thousands of containers were stranded for lack of dollars.
However, the crisis is related to exports because all outbound trade from Pakistan is container-based, as the country does not export liquids or grains.
The state-owned Pakistan National Shipping Company (PNSC) only handles imports of crude oil and other petroleum fuels through its 12 vessels.
Analysts say the stock is only enough for a month of imports.
Pakistan’s annual freight bill is around $5 billion, and foreign companies receive fees in international currency mostly as “greenbacks”.
Shipping agents have indicated that due to the current situation, the shipping sector has been affected by economic ups and downs and any further delay in paying their legal fees will be limited. Pakistan’s foreign trade regime.
However, talking to this newspaper, former PSAA President Muhammad Rajpar said that Pakistan has not yet come close to an economic recession, so the government still has time to find a way out of the current crisis.
“We can always come up with creative ideas to get out of tough times, one of which is hedging in dollars and placing installments on transport companies,” said Rajpar. ‘ said Rajpar.
Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen rapidly to more than $4 billion in recent weeks, creating fears the country could default and prompting SBP to impose tight controls on payments. foreign.
Meanwhile, the Petroleum Division has warned the central bank that its stockpile of petroleum products could be depleted due to banks’ refusal to open and confirm Letters of Credit (LC) for imports.
Like other sectors, the oil industry in Pakistan is facing barriers in opening LCs due to lack of US dollars and restrictions put in place by SBP, according to The Express Tribune.


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