KARACHI: Pakistan Railways is all set to start its operations in order to reduce the time and cost for transit trade cargo, said Nisar Ahmed Memon of Pakistan Railways at the Technical Level Workings Groups meeting held recently.


The meeting deliberated on various issues including Dwell time reduction, Parameters for RMS based scanning, transit through railway, transhipment facilities at Peshawar, issue of revolving insurance guarantee and collection of duty and taxes on Afghan Transit cargo at Karachi.

The meeting was held in pursuance of the decisions of the meeting between Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Chairman Federal Board of Revenue held on February 19, 2015. To discuss the modalities of working groups constituted and to deliberate upon the issue of Port charges and delays, a meeting was held under the chair of Robina Ather, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce at Custom House, Karachi.

The meeting was attended by Robina Ather, DG Transit Trade Khawar Farid Maneka, Collector Appraisement West Muhammad Saleem, Directors Transit Trade Wajid Ali and Pervez Esbhani, Nisar Ahmed Memon of Pakistan Railways and others including Ch. Muhammad Javaid, Saeed Khan Jadoon, Junaid Jalil Khan, Fazal Dad Choudhary, Shoaib Raza, Shoaib Adil, S. Imtiaz Farooq, CEO KICT Horace Hui, Zafar Ullah Jan, Shahhaz Ali Naveed, Wajid All Sanjarani, Ali Mardan Abbasi and Zafar Ullah Rind.

With respect to the issue of dwell time it was highlighted that the Afghan side has formerly requested to reduce the dwell time for transit trade cargo. Whereas, 92% of the processing of transit trade consignments are cleared on the same day by Customs, but there were the delay in operations by Terminal Operators and Bonded Carrier.

It was emphasized that M/s. KICT should increase the existing free times of 5 day s to 14 days for AT cargo at par with the other terminal operators. Horace Hui responded that the Afghan transit cargo is scanned on priority after the filing of IGM without waiting for actual filing of the Goods Declaration. It was further informed that due to the space constrains KICT is unable to expedite their operations. If more space is given to KICT by KPT M/s. KICT can expedite their operations.

He further informed that M/s. KICT has installed only one scanner which has got limited capacity to scan AT cargo.

With respect to the increased number of free days it was appraised to the participant that the administration of M/s. KICT had requested its Headquarters for subject concession approval was awaited. In order to solve the issue of delayed scanning by the terminal operators Additional Secretary Commerce emphasized the need of having a separate queue for scanning of Afghan transit trade cargo.

The Pakistan Railways representative Nisar Ahmed Memon appraised the participants that in order to reduce the time and cost for transit trade cargo Pakistan Railways is ready to start its operations. He also informed the participants that Pakistan Railway is offering flatbed trains for handling transit cargo from Karachi to Torkahm-Chaman, whereas, 1-2 trains carrying 100 containers per day will reduce the time and cost for transit trade cargo.

With respect to legal changes, M. Saeed Jadoon. Additional Director, Directorate of Transit Trade, Peshawar informed the committee that a complete procedure for transit through railway has already been given in the SRO 601(1)/2011, but the same procedure is not prescribed in the SRO 121(1)/2014 issued to cater processing of Afghan transit cargo through WeBOC system.

Further, it was informed that without returning back of empty containers transit through railway will not be a viable option for Afghan Traders because it will not reduce the cost of the transit trade.

The Director, Directorate of Transit Trade apprised the meeting that the RSD for transit through railway has already been prepared by the Directorate of Transit Trade.

Saeed Khan Jadoon, Additional Director, Directorate of Transit Trade, Peshawar informed the participants that the Afghan transit cargo can go from Karachi to Peshawar on road by Pakistani trailers and from Peshawar to Jalalabad it can be transported through Afghan trucks. Provision of such facility will reduce the overall transit cost. Further, it was informed that there are two places which can be taken into consideration for trans-shipment facilities at Peshawar i.e. Azakhel and Peshawar City Railway Station. In order to finalize the proper place for such trans-shipment facilities the need to finalize all the modalities and studying feasibility of both places was emphasized.

With respect to issue of revolving Insurance Guarantee, the meeting discussed the modalities and feasibility of subject provision into the WeBOC system. The Director General, Directorate of Transit Trade, Karachi said that while incorporating the single insurance guarantee will not only reduce the work-load but it will also reduce the cost of doing business.

The Collector Appraisement (West) highlighted that the modalities to finalize the procedure for revolving insurance guarantee can be determined by the help of studying one year data pertaining to Afghan importer and the nature of their imports.

aeed Khan Jadoon, Director, Directorate of Transit Trade Peshawar highlighted that debiting and crediting of insurance guarantee can be done in the line of PD accounts, such as soon after the cross border event the specific insurance guarantee will be debated into the WeBOC system. It was decided to further deliberate upon the issue separately by the working group.

The issue of option to collect duty/taxes on Afghan transit goods at Karachi Ports was discussed and it was decided to hold a separate meeting of the working group to examine the various option/modalities as per law.