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Port of Jakarta closed for fresh products: Pakistani exporters facing undue difficulties




  • Pakistani fresh fruit industry is concerned over the ban on the entry of Pakistani products via Port of Jakarta. Chief Executive Officer, Harvest Trading, Ahmad Jawad told Business Recorder that the closure of the port to fresh fruit shipments was hotly debated last year when it was announced that all exports had to enter via other ports. 

    Similarly, as of last month, Indonesian importers are being issued with monthly quotas to control volumes of Pakistani kinnow shipments that could be brought into the country. This situation is not at all acceptable to Pakistani exporters, he said. Indonesia has enjoyed free access to Pakistani market for many items, including palm oil, for the past six years and under the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) signed by two countries; it was expected same unhindered market access for kinnow export would be allowed. Although negotiations have since taken place but without any success as this port is opened again for Australia and US oranges, but not for Pakistan. 

    This means that all Pakistani fresh product exports to Indonesia must go via Surabaya City, Indonesia from where it is shipped over land at an additional cost of 2,500 dollars. The issue pertaining to General Rate Increase (GRI) 1,500 dollars on perishable shipments from the shipping lines has also not been solved. Shipping experts mentioned that there was no plausible reason for an increase as there was neither any congestion at the Karachi Port and Port Qasim nor there was any choking of containers. 

    Few shipping lines are reluctant to impose this new levy on the business community in the light of current trade scenario of the country which is appreciated and we are thankful to them, he said, adding that unfortunately some big names in shipping industry support GRI, just to stabilise their financial viability. 

    Needless to mention that Pakistani kinnow is already expensive on the international market due to high input and with this additional cost may increase up to Rs 150,000. Current year’s production is 20 percent less at 1.8 million tones compared to previous year’s yield of two million tones. 

    In spite of this downward slide in 2010-11/12 Pakistan’s fruit export market grew by 8.1 percent and in vegetables, country fetched 180.6 million dollars by exporting edible vegetables in the respective fiscal year. Exporters demand that government must provide incentives to the private sector with proper infrastructure for cold storage and pack houses (a farm warehouse for agricultural produce) need to be developed widely across all key farmlands to enable this sector to reach its true potential. 

    Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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