Goods transporters’ strike disrupts flour production

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KARACHI: Transporters’ strike against the imposition of fixed axle load limits for goods vehicles by the National Highways Authority (NHA) is causing disruptions in the supply and production of flour nationwide.

The delivery of imported wheat from the Karachi port has been suspended, affecting the operations of flour mills, while the unloading of ships docking at the port has also been hampered. As a result, importers are incurring demurrage charges, which will ultimately be passed on to consumers as additional costs.

The strike has been ongoing for almost a week, badly impacting the delivery of imported wheat and other commodities from the port. The Karachi Port Trust (KPT) has conveyed the NHA’s decision to all private terminal operators and instructed them to strictly enforce the fixed axle load limits. The KPT has also instructed the private terminals not to allow vehicles loaded beyond the specified limits to leave the port.

Transporters have ceased the delivery of imported goods from the port due to the enforcement of axle load limits. This disruption is not limited to Karachi but is causing difficulties throughout the country in terms of imported wheat delivery.

Chaudhry Amir Abdullah, Chairman of the Flour Mills Association Sindh Zone, expressed concerns over the issue. The association has made appeals to the Sindh government and the chief secretary for immediate steps to resolve issues.

The association called for exempting food items from the axle load restrictions. Abdullah noted that flour mills rely on imported wheat for 75 per cent of their flour production.

The disruption in wheat delivery from the port is affecting flour production, making it challenging to sustain the downward trend in flour prices. The cost of wheat delivery is increasing due to the axle load limits, resulting in double transportation costs. Moreover, private wheat importers will also be burdened by demurrage charges imposed on ships.

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