KARACHI: The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has asked the Ministry of Maritime Affairs to resolve the containers availability issue to facilitate rice exports.

Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) informed the commerce ministry on Jan 11 that rice exports are adversely impacted due to the non-availability of containers. Shipping companies take empty containers from Pakistan to other destinations which is the core cause of this crisis.

The shipping lines, due to scarcity of containers, are also charging exorbitant prices, making rice exports uncompetitive in the world market in view of the rising cost of business.

The commerce ministry shared the REAP letter along with a proposal that only 20 per cent of containers may be allowed to go empty from Pakistan and 80pc should be spared for Pakistani export cargo.

It requested the Ministry of Maritime Affairs to take immediate action for ensuring the continuation of rice exports and other commodities to their export destinations.

According to figures of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the export of basmati rose by 45pc and 32pc in terms of quantity and value to 294,196 tonnes valuing $261m in 5MFY22 from 202,223 tonnes worth $196m in the same period last fiscal year.

Other varieties of rice fetched $565m with the shipment of 1.27m tonnes as compared to $434m from 1.16m tonnes.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2022

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