Mr Suleman Chawla, Acting President FPCCI, has welcomed the inauguration of Pakistan – Russia shipping & cargo service; and pinned his hopes that trade with Russia will usher the country into a new era where considerable pressure will be reduced from Pak Rupee and its parity vis-à-vis dollar; balance of payments can see some stability after the trade volumes are increased on a sustained basis as the commercial transactional procedures and other teething problems are sorted out. He added that this development would enable Pakistani exporters to export to Russia directly, transhipment costs would be saved, and Pakistan itself could emerge as a transhipment hub.
Mr Suleman Chawla said that Russia has many high-quality products to offer & vice versa, and crude oil tops it all. He stressed that the quantum of importing Russian crude might be enhanced in a phased manner to as high as 100,000 barrels per day; to put things in perspective, Pakistan’s total demand remains in the range of 150,000 – 175,000 barrels per day. One can well imagine the impact it can have on Pakistan’s economy, and the price of petroleum products can be drastically reduced in Pakistan – one of the biggest contributors in fuelling the inflationary pressures unabatedly.
Acting FPCCI Chief demanded that the government facilitate and incentivise the shipping, transportation, logistics, container terminals, refineries and insurance companies willing to enter Pakistan – Russia trade & commercial activities. He reiterated that the country has already wasted a fair amount of time in starting to import Russian crude due to various pressures. No sanctions or legalities were hindering Russian oil.
Mr Suleman Chawla added that, technologically and industrially, Russia is a very advanced country; and Pakistan should look for industrial collaborations, technology transfers, joint ventures, investments and common production facilities established in Pakistan.
Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo, immediate past President FPCCI, said that Pakistan would be the real winner in trade with Russia; and there should be no stone remain unturned to create an enabling environment to capitalise on regional & sub-regional trade; barter trade; trade in currencies other than dollars; currency swap mechanism; establishing border markets; land-based bilateral trade and utilising transit trade routes.
Mr Abdullah Farrukh, Convener of FPCCI’s Central Standing Committee on Shipping Affairs, informed that direct shipping of cargo has kicked off between Pakistan & Russia on May 25, 2023, as the first ship arrived; and the private sector is fully geared up to play its part in fostering Pakistan – Russia trade and economic relations. He proposed that Pakistan establish functional and efficient banking channels with Russia to reduce trade barriers. He apprised that the transactions would take place in Chinese Yuan through Pakistani & Chinese banks.