UNDERDEVELOPED LOGISTICS SYSTEM
Jan 30 - Feb 5, 2012
Lack of initiatives on the part of the business community and absence of government support to improve air, sea, and rail and road logistics and supply chain systems are hindering the growth of logistics and supply chain sector.
India has been ranked as the top logistic hub owing to implementation of government's supportive policies while Pakistan is ranked at the bottom of the list of countries offering attractive logistics hub in South Asian region.
Although the trade with India will open opportunities, border facilities are not conducive for supporting regional trade.
Experts believe that the government's lack of support to this crucial sector is resulting in an estimated loss equivalent to two percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) annually.
Terming logistics and supply chain sector as the lifeline of an economy, they, however, expressed concern over lack of initiative on part of the business community to improve air, sea, and rail and road logistics and supply chain systems.
They were of the view that the private sector needs to prepare itself for facing the challenges rather than looking for shortcuts and wait for the government for coming forward to strengthen the logistics and supply chain management in the country.
They criticized the government for failing to cater to improve the airfreight to support business community, which is contributing billions of rupees in taxes every year. They stressed the need to set up a proper cargo complex to house costly exportable items including leather, textile, surgical and sports goods as well as livestock.
They stressed the need to remove impediments in the way of logistics and supply chain management, which would be of paramount importance in trade with India and Afghanistan.
According to them, the national carrier did not have a single cargo aircraft, no proper cargo complex was built in Pakistan till 2001 in addition to non-availability of shells at air freight units for perishable goods, which resulted in decay of a large quantity of items, like mangoes and kinnos.
Pakistan's aviation industry has been suffering from flagging revenue and dwindling travelers due to a number of reasons including absence of a comprehensive aviation policy, economic slowdown, volatility in fuel prices, worsening law and order situation, energy and power crises, currency depreciation, financial and administrative issues and deterioration of security across the country.
Experts say there is big potential for business for the air cargo service especially during winter season when the connectivity through land between the two countries remains suspended.
Business leaders were of the view that national carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) needs to facilitate the business community for easy handling of cargo.
According to them, business community is facing a number of problems while sending export goods to countries around the world.
They suggested that PIA should ensure timely delivery of perishable goods, because delay in the delivery may lose freshness of fruits and vegetables.
PIA officials claimed that PIA is commercial entity and has the capacity to handle cargo in bulk. Efforts are being made to further improve the cargo system to provide maximum facilitation to its customers, they said.