This was informed in a meeting between office-bearers of Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA) and a 7-member delegation of PIA led by its General Manager Cargo Shahid Khoso here at PFVA head office on Saturday. The PIA delegation included Parvez Rafi, DGM Cargo Operation, Mushtaq Shah Manager Cargo Sales, Kurtar DGM Cargo Complex, Baqar Nagi, Manager Space Control, Abbas Zaidi, Cargo Sales Manager Karachi, and P M Talpur Ahmed, Manager Air Cargo Center while PFVA was represented by its Chairman Waheed Ahmed, Senior Vice Chairman Aslam Pkhali, and other members and leading exporters.
Issues such as lack of required equipment and space in the national airline for cargo services of perishable items, high cargo tariff and others were mainly discussed in the hours long meeting. It was informed that PIA was unfortunately generating hardly 15 percent revenue through the export of mango out of the collective income of Rs 3 billion. However, through the new initiatives taken by the cargo section of PIA, the airline would be easily getting over 25 percent of the revenue from mango exports in 2013. This way not only the losses to the airline would be reduced but also the export of mango would see a reasonable jump in next couple of years.
Shahid Khoso informed exporters that PIA, through forming new business strategy, has obtained required new equipment to lift exportable fruits and vegetables, especially the mango in the forthcoming season. Besides to ensure the maximum and timely export of mango and fruits this year special managers have been appointed with specific responsibilities. A help desk has also been set up to facilitate exporters in cargo-related matters. He further ensured exporters to consider their demands of reducing freight charges.
Addressing the meeting, Waheed Ahmed, Chairman PFVA requested the airline to arrange charter cargo flights to lift mango to European countries where the fruit has huge demands in the season. The lack of direct flight services and shortage of air cargo facility limit the export of highly valued fruit despite the demands. He said the 85 percent cargo are being lifted by private airlines while the national carrier is confined to a cargo service worth Rs 450 million out of the total export of Rs 3 billion as recorded last year.
Exporters have always preferred the national airline however its limited facilities and issues are hindering freight service forcing them to move towards other airlines. He assured PIA officials that the private airlines would only be approached when the national airline is short of space and facility.
Waheed also informed the PIA delegation about losses faced by exporters for negligence on the part of PIA which offloaded consignments in Lahore against the scheduled routes many a time. He further informed the officials that the airline should also keep an eye on the exporters/traders as the ministry of commerce through the 3-year Trade Policy has made the membership of PFVA mandatory for exporters of fresh fruits/vegetables. He also suggested the airline to frame long-term strategies to improve its cargo services.