Coal starts coming in from Afghanistan

Published July 3, 2022
Pakistan Railway has decided to set up stations at four places to transport coal from Afghanistan. —Reuters
Pakistan Railway has decided to set up stations at four places to transport coal from Afghanistan. —Reuters

LAHORE: The country has started importing coal from Afghanistan and supplying it to the coal-fired power plants in different cities, an official told Dawn on Saturday.

“Coal from Afghanistan has started coming in a couple of days ago after the government directed the departments concerned, especially the Pakistan Railways, to make certain arrangements for a safe and rapid coal transport operation,” the official said.

“At present, fewer than 3,000 tonnes of coal are being brought daily at the Khushhal Kot railway station. However, the supply is expected to touch 20,000 tonnes after the beginning of coal operation from Kundian in Mianwali district and Sibi in Balochistan,” the official said, adding that the Sibi station would receive coal in trucks via the Wesh-Chaman border.

Earlier, reports suggest that the Afghan coal price more than doubled from $90 per tonne to around $200 after Pakistan decided to buy the commodity from its neighbour.

3,000 tonnes being imported at present

However, the official said that since Islamabad was paying for the coal in rupees, the increase in prices might not make a significant impact.

“An important meeting presided over by Federal Minister for Railways and Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafique would also be held in this regard on Sunday (today) at the Pakistan Railways’ headquarters in Lahore. During the meeting, the decisions related to the launch of coal operations within the next few days would also be taken,” the official said.

He said that under the agreement, it had also been decided to transport coal to power plants in Sahiwal and Hub through the rail network instead of by road.

Meanwhile, presiding over a meeting at the PR headquarters on Saturday, Mr Rafique directed the Pakistan Railways administration to ensure the provision of wagons to transport coal from Afghanistan.

He reviewed different matters related to the railway revenue and transportation of coal from Afghanistan. It was decided that transportation stations would be set up in Sibi, Kundian and Khushhaal Kot. The Railways secretary, chief executive officer and other officers attended the meeting.

In a meeting on June 27, the government decided to import coal from Afghanistan for the coal-fired power plants due to the price hike of petroleum products.

The meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, also approved the import of high-quality coal from Afghanistan in rupees instead of dollars to save the country’s foreign exchange.

The premier was informed during the meeting that the import of coal, initially required for Sahiwal and Hub power plants, from Afghanistan would help Pakistan cut the annual import bill by $2.2 billion.

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2022

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

Debt trap
Updated 30 May, 2024

Debt trap

The task before the government is to boost its tax-to-GDP ratio to the global average by taxing the economy’s untaxed and undertaxed sectors.
Foregone times
30 May, 2024

Foregone times

THE past, as they say, is a foreign country. It seems that the PML-N’s leadership has chosen to live there. Nawaz...
Margalla fires
30 May, 2024

Margalla fires

THE Margalla Hills — the sprawling 12,605-hectare national park — were once again engulfed in flames, with 15...
First steps
Updated 29 May, 2024

First steps

One hopes that this small change will pave the way for bigger things.
Rafah inferno
29 May, 2024

Rafah inferno

THE level of barbarity witnessed in Sunday’s Israeli air strike targeting a refugee camp in Rafah is shocking even...
On a whim
29 May, 2024

On a whim

THE sudden declaration of May 28 as a public holiday to observe Youm-i-Takbeer — the anniversary of Pakistan’s...