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Goods carriers go on strike against SHC ban on movement

Goods carriers go on strike against SHC ban on movement

KARACHI: Goods carriers went on strike on Monday in protest against the restriction imposed by the Sindh High Court on the movement of heavy vehicles within the city’s jurisdiction.

The transporters said the restriction would result in extra cost because their vehicles would have to cover long distances to reach their destinations and no business could be carried out with losses.

Talking to Dawn, Transporters of Goods Association-KPT president Anwar Soomro said the decision to go on strike had been taken by transporters associations across the country under the umbrella of the United Alliance of Transporters.

He warned that if the government failed to take notice and remove their grievances, the goods carriers would observe a countrywide strike from Tuesday.

He said that although the Supreme Court had allowed the movement of heavy vehicles of city goods carriers, the SHC stopped them from plying within the city.

About 7,000 to 8,000 containers and goods carriers with raw material, imported food and other items daily travel from the Karachi Port to Port Qasim, Landhi and Korangi industrial areas — a distance of about 35km.

Mr Soomro claimed that because of the restriction the heavy vehicles now reached these areas after covering a long distance of around 200km through a new route. He said heavy vehicles would first have to go to Hub Chowki towards Northern Bypass and then to Sohrab Goth from where a very narrow link road near Port Qasim would take them to the industrial areas of Landhi and Korangi.

A stevedore working at the Karachi Port said that unfortunately the movement of trucks within port areas also had been stopped, which meant that bulk cargo unloaded from ships could not be moved to shed for temporary storage for onward movement upcountry.

Similarly, the movement of containers from the Karachi Port to the industrial areas of PQA, Landhi and Korangi was also stopped and it is expected that within days there would be congestion at the port.

The worst part of the entire scenario, he said, was that a large quantity of imported food items like cereals and other goods mostly consumed during Ramazan were stored in these industrial areas for onward movement upcountry.

Leading exporter Mohammad Jawed Bilwani said the goods carriers’ strike would aggravate the situation because exports were already falling rapidly and the country had witnessed a record trade deficit.

He claimed that on average exports would suffer to the tune of Rs6 billion daily at a time when home remittances also declined. Mr Bilwani urged the authorities to lift the restriction on the movement of heavy vehicles within the city’s jurisdiction.

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2017

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