LAHORE

The Kenyan government has started releasing Pakistan’s around 37,000 tonnes rice cargoes worth $13 million, which were stuck at the Kenyan seaport for the last one month due to cancellation of license of harbour yards, following the settlement between Pakistani exporters and the Kenyan Port Authority.

The rice exporters said that federal commerce minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, on the request of REAP chairman, sent a letter to the secretary of foreign affairs ministry in Kenya to take up the issue with the Kenyan government for early release of Pakistani rice consignments. The Kenyan authorities were also asked for withdrawal of examination condition imposed on stuck rice consignments.

They said that around 1,500 rice containers had been held up at Kenyan seaport last month due to cancellation of licenses of Auto Ports Container Freight Station.

Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan chairman Ch Muhammad Shafique said the abrupt closure of CFS yards disrupted the normal cargo clearance at Mombasa Port. Accordingly, the delay in the release of the cargo forced the REAP to intervene and safeguard the interests of rice exporters of Pakistan.

Ch Shafique said that Reap delegation in Kenya made full efforts to resolve the issue, getting the containers released without examination and paying any additional fine.

REAP chairman said that Pakistan High Commission in Nairobi arranged meetings with KPA officials to ensure the timely release of consignments.

During the meeting, it was agreed that KPA will waive all demurrages and storage charges that may have accrued due to the policy change. Accordingly, KPA has asked REAP to provide the details of Bill of Lading along with container numbers of the consignments lying at the KPA.

Ch Shafique said that the Pakistan delegation in the lead of former chairman Rafiq Suleman also held meetings with Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to outline the procedure for releasing and removing the balance containers of Pakistani rice exporters. Meetings with KPA and KRA representatives were very fruitful and created a way forward to clear the held up cargo that was nominated to the closed CFSs, he added.

He said that the Pakistan delegation also asked for a deadline of 15th March, 2016 for removing the balance rice consignments from KPA without any storage or additional charge and KPA officials are almost agreed to it.

The REAP chairman appreciated the federal commerce minister for taking prompt action and approaching the top Kenyan authorities to resolve the issue on an urgent basis.

He appreciated the efforts of High Commissioner of Pakistan at Nairobi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and TDAP officials for their active involvement to resolve the issue.