QUETTA The staff of Transit Trade Quetta at the NLC dry port in Quetta successfully intercepted an illicit attempt to smuggle a large quantity of almonds and chickpeas. The consignment, which originated from a foreign country and was destined for Quetta, was compromised en route, leading to a substantial loss of goods.

The incident came to light when M/s Hashim Impex of Lahore, represented by their Clearing & Forwarding Agent M/s Muhammad Asif & Company of Quetta, filed a Transshipment Goods Declaration (TP GD) for the transportation of almonds and chickpeas from the Land Custom Border Station at Taftan to the NLC Dry Port in Quetta. The goods were loaded onto a vehicle registered to the bonded carrier M/s M-Ehsan-ud-Din & Company (Pvt) Ltd.

Upon the vehicle’s arrival at the NLC Dry Port on May 30, 2024, officials discovered that the PCCSS and RFID seals were broken, prompting an immediate directive from the Director of Transit Trade Quetta, Muhammad Ismail, to conduct a thorough joint examination. The inspection, carried out in the presence of representatives from the bonded carrier and the customs clearing and forwarding agent, revealed a shocking discrepancy: while 180 bags of chickpeas, each weighing 30 kg, were accounted for, a staggering 24,500 kg of almonds were missing from the declared cargo.

The bonded carrier and the clearing and forwarding agent are legally bound to present the consignment to the relevant customs authorities for processing. However, in this case, M/s M-Ehsanuddin and Co (Pvt) Limited, along with other implicated parties, failed to comply with the provisions of the Customs Act, 1969, and associated rules, resulting in the en route theft of the goods.

Authorities have seized the recovered goods and the vehicle involved in the incident. A formal case has been registered, and efforts are underway to apprehend the individuals who have fled the scene.

An official statement shed light on a disturbing trend: goods declared at Taftan are often dispatched to Karachi and Multan on the same GD, exploiting one legal route for legitimate imports and another for smuggling operations. The practice involves misdeclaring high-value goods as low-value items, which are then swapped during transit. Although vehicles are equipped with trackers, certain areas along the route lack signal coverage, creating blind spots that facilitate these illegal activities.

The customs department is now tightening its surveillance and enforcement measures to prevent such occurrences in the future, ensuring the integrity of transshipment processes and safeguarding the nation’s economic interests.