ISLAMABAD: The first shipment under the Convention on International Transport of Goods for traffic-in-transit of goods across the border reached Pakistan from Uzbekistan via Afghanistan in 48 hours, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Razak Dawood announced on Wednesday.
Islamabad signed the Convention on International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets in August 2015, which is a multilateral treaty that entails no payment of customs duties and taxes. Pakistan ratified the convention in January 2016.
Under the convention, the first cargo from Pakistan to Uzbekistan reached its destination last week.
“The MOC (Ministry of Commerce) is pleased to inform that a new milestone has been achieved with the first-ever truck from Uzbekistan reaching Pakistan under the TIR Convention,” the adviser said.
It took the truck 48 hours to reach Torkham via Afghanistan
Mr Dawood went on to say that this was the result of collaboration between the transport companies of the two sides. “This is the beginning of a new era where trucks from both sides will take trade cargo to and from Karachi and Gwadar ports,” he further said.
On May 11, 2021 a cargo truck with Uzbek licence plate safely crossed the Afghan transit route in two days and reached the Torkham checkpoint near Peshawar. After the completion of customs clearance, the truck will reach the importer in Faisalabad.
The vehicle transports from Uzbekistan processed leather products (wet blue) for Pakistani leather factories. More Uzbek export goods like coal, mineral fertilisers and textiles have been planned for regular direct delivery to Lahore, Karachi, Taxila and Faisalabad.
An official announcement said that the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Pakistan together with Pakistani transport company Best Trans Pvt Ltd and Uzbek freight forwarding company Asad Trans for the first time implemented a pilot trans-Afghan logistics project for direct delivery of Uzbek export goods to Pakistan through the territory of Afghanistan.
As the joint action of the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Islamabad and the Ministry of Commerce of Pakistan, the partners of Asad Trans and Best Trans Pvt Ltd since January this year began working on the project for direct delivery of Uzbek goods to Pakistani cities through Afghanistan according to the “supplier’s warehouse — importer’s warehouse” scheme.
The specified transit transportation of Uzbek goods is the implementation of trans-Afghan transport and logistics project initiated by the president of Uzbekistan.
The successful implementation of the project significantly reduces cost of transportation of Uzbek goods, including shipping at Uzbek-Afghan border and subsequently at Afghan-Pakistani border, in accordance with TIR Carnet Convention dated 1975, members of which are Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Partners of Best Trans Pvt. Ltd and Asad Trans are planning to increase the number of freight vehicles up to 50 units by the end of the year to ensure smooth circulation of goods by Uzbek trucks.
According to chairman of Best Trans Pvt Ltd Ramiz Rabbani, the entry of the first Uzbek truck into the territory of Pakistan is a historical event, since before that in the Uzbek-Pakistani economic relations, the delivery of Uzbek export goods directly to Pakistan through the freight transport of Uzbekistan was not implemented.
According to him, the expected signing between Uzbekistan and Pakistan of intergovernmental agreements on preferential and transit trade will give an impetus for development of interregional freight circulation through the trans-Afghan route.
Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2021