KARACHI - Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) has ruled out any import of sugar through Gwadar port, as it would cost them at least Rs3.24 billion in terms of transportation and stevedoring charges. The Nation has learnt that TCP has received the letters of Ministry of Commerce, Finance Division and M/s Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) Gwadar, regarding the import of sugar through Gwadar port. In response to the letters, the TCP replied that import of 0.5 million Metric Ton sugar through Gwadar Port not feasible. As per details, at present the stevedoring charges at Gwadar port are Rs 425/MT, which are higher than Karachi Port and Port bin Qasim i.e Rs 295/MT and 315/MT respectively. Hence the stevedoring cost of 0.5 million MT of sugar at Gwadar port would be about Rs 212.5 million. Moreover, the Surveyors charges at Gwadar port are Rs 61/MT as compared to Rs 3.50/MT of KPT and Port Qasim. Similarly, the transportation of sugar from Gwadar to Karachi would cost at least Rs 1.125 billion at the rate of Rs 2250/MT which is more expensive as compared to the import of sugar through KPT and PQA where the transportation charges to the TCPs godowns are Rs 385/MT. According to the sources, the Ministry of Commerce has requested the TCP to furnish its comments in the said matter, so in this regard Dispatch Operation Divisions of TCP has conveyed the reservations related to the import of 0.5 million MT sugar through Gwadar port. They further said that as per past practice the total quantity of imported sugar has been handled at KPT and Port Bin Qasim and has to be stored in the TCPs godowns situated in Karachi. Therefore, the import of entire 0.5 million MT of sugar through Gwadar port and subsequent transportation to TCPs godowns at Karachi, would not be feasible. However, in order to facilitate the Gwadar port, TCP may consider some sugar ships to be discharged at Gwadar port which are meant for utilization of sugar in the province of Balochistan, after making thorough SOPs. Moreover, very limited storage space is available at Gwadar port, which is not only insufficient for sugar but also for other commodities like urea and wheat. In case of heavy discharging slow dispatches, cargo is stored at stacking area at Gwadar port and that stacking urea is insufficient as any sort of rain at Gwadar port will affect the stored cargo severely. In addition, due to political problems, unrest and poor law and order situation in Balochistan the possibility of pilferage and robbery cannot be ruled out. Further to above, another apprehension is the disconnection of the road links due to heavy rains, and it is feared that in case of heavy rains the road links get blocked and the transportation of cargo would not be possible.