ISLAMABAD - Board of Administrators of the Export Development Fund decided on Thursday that the Ministry of Commerce would fund the establishment of dry port in Sargodha to facilitate the export of fruits and minerals, produced in the region, directly to other countries

The board, which met here under the chairmanship of Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, ordered conducting a feasibility study of the proposed dry port, also including detailed designing and cost estimation, from a well-reputed consultant.

According to details, it was discussed in the meeting that citrus was a major exportable item of the region, and there were around 50 kinnows processing units operating in the region.

All the export consignments from the region have to be cleared in Karachi due to the non-availability of the dry port in the area. It was noted that the construction of dry port would greatly facilitate the export process as all the consignments would be cleared and sealed at the dry port, and then dispatched to its destination without having to bother about clearance at the seaport.

This will provide great convenience to the exporters, save considerable amount of time and encourage the exporters.

The board hoped the dry port would also facilitate the exporters of minerals such as gypsum, rock salt and iron ore, which are found in the adjoining areas.

They also expressed the optimism that this would bring extra premium to the artisans, associated with the cottage industry of wooden handicrafts, which are exported to China, Malaysia and Italy.

The minister for commerce said on the occasion that one of the reasons why the SMEs stayed away from exporting their products was the cumbersome procedure involved in exporting items.

“The dry port will provide them all the clearance facilities at their door-step thus greatly facilitating them to export their products,” he added.

The board also approved the establishment of a fruit packaging and processing plant in Quetta so that thousands of fruit farmers of Balochistan could get extra value of their produce. This will help the farmers to export their fruits to western countries.

The board also approved a project for the expansion of Effluent Treatment Plant, established in Korangi, Karachi, which generates power by using the bio gas produced in the tanneries.

The availability of bio gas generators save 70 percent of the energy already supplied through the grid.

Technical experts have noted that this plant will cut the operational cost and reduce the methane gas emission in the air considerably.