Chairman United Goods Transporters Alliance (UGTA) Ghulam Yasin Khan has said that goods transporters have been facing a lot of problems due to sit-in in Punjab as hundreds of container laden trucks, of which many containers were loaded with goods, had been intercepted by police to use them for setting up roadblocks, which has caused severe losses not only to truck owners but also to shipping lines, importers, exporters and suppliers of goods.
“The situation has worsened to such an extent that several containers were even dumped in the Jehlum Rivers, of which some have been recovered, but a few are still floating in the river, causing severe damages to containers and losses to goods transporters. Even the business community also suffers badly due damages caused to containers and also the escalating demurrage/ detention charges by shipping lines”, he said, adding that as the goods transporters were not in a position to settle claims and the government stays inattentive to their issue, UGTA finds no other option but to go on strike.
Speaking at a meeting during the visit of the UGTA delegation to KCCI, Yasin khan said, “Keeping in view the strong ties between UGTA and KCCI, we felt it necessary to consult with the Chamber before taking this harsh step which was neither in favour of economy nor the business community, but we have no choice.”
He said that truck owners were facing a severe liquidity crunch due to the high cost of doing business as the prices of diesel, oil, tires and spare parts, etc. The miseries intensify further when they face additional losses due to sit-ins. “Moreover, the customs officials along with local police have constantly been harassing truck drivers in the Hyderabad-Sukkur region, particularly at a check post established in Khairpur where every single truck driver was being stopped and released only after paying Rs.2000/-“, he said, adding that several letters have been sent to Prime Minister, Interior Minister, Chief Minister Sindh and others in which all these issues have been highlighted from time to time, but no response has been received to date.
Chairman UGTA stated that the goods transporters would have to raise their tariffs; otherwise, their survival was at stake due to inflation and lack of support.
President KCCI Muhammad Idrees, in his remarks, stated that instead of going on strike, the goods transporters must hold negotiations with lawmakers, and KCCI would try its level best to arrange table talks with relevant ministers. He further requested UGTA to share all its communications with relevant ministers so that KCCI could promptly take up their issues and get them resolved as strikes were neither in favour of goods transporters nor the business community and the already ailing economy.
“We will invite Federal Interior Minister, Commerce Minister and Minister for Maritime Affairs at KCCI so that we could jointly discuss the problems being suffered by goods transporters and amicably resolve the same in the larger interest of the country”, he added.
President KCCI also sought UGTA’s nominations for KCCI’s Ports, Shipping & Multi-modal Transportation Subcommittee in order to further strengthen strong liaison between KCCI and UGTA.
Senior Vice President Abdul Rehman Naqi, Vice President Qazi Zahid Hussain, Senior Vice Chairman UGTA Imdad Hussain Naqvi, Secretary-General UGTA Ghulam Muhammad Afridi and KCCI Managing Committee Members were also present at the meeting.
President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Muhammad Idrees presenting crest to Chairman United Goods Transporters Alliance (UGTA) during the visit of UGTA delegation to KCCI. Senior Vice President Abdul Rehman Naqi, Vice President Qazi Zahid Hussain, Senior Vice Chairman UGTA Imdad Hussain Naqvi, Secretary General UGTA Ghulam Muhammad Afridi and KCCI Managing Committee Members were also present at the meeting.