The process of releasing consignments of pulses stuck at the port has begun, which is expected to avert the risk of shortage of the commodity during the month of Ramazan and reduce their prices.
Abdul Rauf Ibrahim, the chairman of Wholesale Grocers Association, told The Express Tribune that out of 7,000 containers of pulses stuck at the port, only 2,000 have been released while 5,000 are still left. “Twenty per cent of the pulses arrived in the form of 50,000 tons of ‘bulk’ by three ships anchored at the port a few days ago, have been released immediately.”
He expressed concerns over releasing the commodity in bulk, saying that it was beyond comprehension that why previously held consignments of pulses imported in containers were not being released at a faster pace than in bulk, though foreign shipping companies were paying more for pulses in containers than in bulk. “The burden of paying detention charges of $100 per container per day is increasing on the country and importers.” Therefore, he said, the federal government and the port authorities should issue orders for clearance of stalled pulses containers on a priority basis as foreign shipping companies had imposed detention charges of $300 million on stalled pulses containers worth $700 million.
The Wholesale Grocers Association chairman said that the delay in releasing the consignments of pulses stored in containers would increase the cost to dangerous levels and further increase in the prices of pulses would not only affect the common consumers but also the push inflation to dangerous levels.
He said despite the announcement by Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Faisal Sabzwari two weeks ago, they had not yet been able to issue the notification to remove the demurrages on the stalled containers of pulses.
The chairman said that due to the non-release of all the containers and bulk cargo of pulses arriving in Pakistan, there had been a continuous increase of Rs100 to Rs150 per kilo in the prices of pulses across the country for the last few months, but now the prices would return to normal.