KARACHI, July 12: The customs authorities are close to finalising the procedure for clearance of thousands of Nato/Isaf and US army containers stranded inside the country even after the announcement of a government decision to reopen routes into Afghanistan on July 3.

According to official sources, the major issues for clearance of goods lying inside the bonded areas of ports and even those that have left the ports but have not crossed the Afghan border have already been worked out. However, certain clarifications have been sought from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

The sources said that these issues were expected to be sorted out by Friday evening, after which the cargoes would start moving out of the ports and other storage areas.

Answering a question, the Collector for Port Qasim, Robina Wasti, said: “So far not a single container belonging to the Nato/Isaf or US army has moved out of the port area or crossed the border since the announcement about the reopening of the Nato routes.”

However, she said that containers belonging to the diplomatic and commercial cargoes of the Afghan Transit Trade were being cleared as usual.

Under the procedure being laid down for the clearance of the containers, all of them would have to be scanned. The vehicles carrying them would be weighed both before and after the loading of the containers.

The customs authorities will have to put a seal on every container and proper documentation would be required for clearance of the cargo.

In the past the US army containers were cleared without the filing of the Goods Declaration (DG) which mentions the contents of the boxes.

The vehicles moving out of the ports will be escorted by the Pakistan Rangers personnel. The National Logistics Cell will issue the no-objection certificate to the ‘bonded carriers’, according to the sources.

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