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July 30 - August 05 , 2001

AICT starts operation

The newly-built Al-Hamd International Container Terminal (AICT), an off-dock terminal facility to handle import and export cargoes, started its operations on Thursday.

The United Marine Agencies will be utilizing the AICT to provide more efficient handling of import/export cargoes through one-door operations.

The terminal with a covered area of 3,000 square meters is equipped with modern computerized programme and is capable of handling 56,000 containers annually.

There is a separate dangerous goods shed with efficient fire-fighting arrangements and a weigh bridge of 80 tons capacity.

Talking to newsmen, chief executive officer of United Marine Agencies, Sohail Shams said that UMA was committed to providing excellent services to their clients and decision of utilizing AICT will further strengthen the commitment towards providing competitive and efficient service.

Located at a close proximity to the port and the Sindh Industrial and Trading Estate (Site) the terminal will facilitate the easy accessibility and swift distribution of cargo.

UMA director Hakan Granander applauded the government policies towards shipping industry and said that UMA would like to be inline with development of logistic industry in the country.

He further said that with the inception of dedicated container terminals and off-dock facilities, the country was moving towards modern era of container and cargo handling. By utilizing AICT off-dock facilities, he said, the UMA had introduced third party logistics and warehousing system.

TCP hold an open auction

The Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) said on Wednesday it would hold an open auction in mid August for soyabean oil imported under the United States' export donation programme.

"We are waiting for the final test report on the commodity the first consignment of which arrived on Sunday to fix an auction price," said a senior TCP official. The official said the TCP would issue an auction tender in first half of August, before which the finance ministry, the main importer of the commodity, would finalise the price.

"The auction price would definitely be less than the market price," he added. The official said the first shipment of 25,000 tons of soyabean oil from the United States reached Karachi's Port Qasim on July 22, and final delivery of a total 75,000 tons in three consignments was due to be completed by September.

Iran rejects offer to buy wheat

Iran on Wednesday rejected an offer to purchase wheat from Pakistan despite extensive damage to its agricultural sector following a fourth consecutive year of drought, the state IRNA news agency reported.

During a meeting with visiting Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood, Iran's Minister of Reconstruction Mahmoud Hodjati asserted that Pakistani wheat does not correspond with "international standards from a sanitary point of view," and rejected the offer to purchase 200,000 tons of wheat.

Hodjati said Tehran would reconsider the offer once Pakistan attains the necessary international sanitary standards, ignoring claims by Dawood that the "commercial balance between the two countries is not equal." Iran, suffering from its fourth consecutive year of drought, had recently announced that it was looking to purchase some 10 million tons of wheat, five million of which were to be imported. Iran's annual consumption rate of wheat lies at some 15 million tons.

Import from Afghanistan increased

Import of different items from Afghanistan to NWFP recorded significant increase in the out-going financial year, according to import figures collected from official circles.

Apart from fresh and dry fruits, hand-woven carpets' imports recorded increase in the 2000-01. As a result of increase in imports from Afghanistan, the Torkham station of the customs collectorate, Peshawar, recorded some 25 per cent increase in revenue.

Bonded warehouses allowed

The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) on Thursday allowed setting up bonded warehouses in Gujranwala Division.

Earlier, the business were only allowed to install bonded warehouses in the Gujranwala City for the storage of imported goods.

The area in which the businessmen are now allowed to set up bonded warehouses included Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Narowal and Mandibahauddin districts.

Companies stop buying tobacco from growers

Tobacco companies have stopped purchasing white patta tobacco from growers, saying they had completed their announced quota and are no longer bound to purchase the surplus.

In the current purchasing season, the white patta growers have been facing numerous problems because only Pakistan tobacco Company (PTC) has purchased its direct quota from growers while remaining companies had categorically denied purchasing white patta, saying they have enough tobacco for the current year.

The tobacco experts said that 8 million kg tobacco still remained with growers and they had no option but to beg for purchasing of their lot by the tobacco companies. According to agriculture experts all the companies are bound to purchase half of its announced quota direct from growers and Pakistan Tobacco Board had made it clear that the PTC requirement of white patta for year 2001 is 2 million kg, Lakson Tobacco Company 0.100 million kg, Salim Cigarette Industry 0.020m kg, Universal Tobacco Company 0.020 million kg, Bara Cigarette Industry 0.020 million kg,