ISLAMABAD - The government of Pakistan has allowed the import of Afghan bulk cargoes under Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement through Gwadar Port, officials said on Sunday.

“For the sake of efficient and cost-effective operationalisation of the Gwadar Port and the Western-Corridor of the CPEC, the import of Afghan bulk-cargo of wheat, sugar, and fertilizer at the Gwadar Port and onward transit to Afghanistan shall be permitted,” said an office memorandum issued by the Ministry of Commerce on April 17, 2020 regarding the implementation of the Import and Export Policy Orders through shipping procedure and instructions for operationalisation of the Gwadar Port.

The Federation of Pakistan Chambers at Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PNCCI), Gwadar International Terminals Limited and other stakeholders were approaching the ministry of commerce with the request to allow import of Afghan bulk cargo at the Gwadar Port and onward transit to Afghanistan in salable trucks, said the documents.

The petitions were examined in light of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), 2010. Article 21(1) (c) of the APTTA, 2010 allow transit of 'bulk cargo (not Imported in containers like ship load) in open trucks or other transport units.

In view of the above mentioned provisions of the APTTA, the petitions of the stakeholders and for the sake of efficient and cost-effective operationalization of the Gwadar Port and the Western-Corridor of the CPEC, the import of Afghan bulk-cargo of wheat, sugar and fertilizer at the Gwadar Port and onward transit to Afghanistan shall be permitted in bonded carrier, insured and sealable trucks having a tracking device installed on them. The Customs authorities shall take necessary and cost efficient measures to ensure the en route security of the cargo.

It is worth to mention here that with the first cargo in January this year, the Gwadar Port had started handling transit cargo to and from Afghanistan. Pakistan handles around 48 percent of total Afghan exports and approximately 60 percent of Afghan transit trade goes through the Torkham border.

However, now the bulk supply of the sugar, wheat and fertilizer through Gwadar port will increase traffic at Gwadar port besides decreasing the load of work at Karachi port. It will also reduce the cost and time for the transportation of the commodities to Afghanistan.