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International Shipping
Pakistan customs levy illicit 'transit fees', allege Afghan fruit truckers
Date:2018-07-13 Readers:
TRADERS of Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province say Pakistan customs officials are demanding unauthorised "transit fees" from truckers moving fruit to markets south of the border.

Fresh Fruit Traders Union head Haji Nanai Agha, told Pajhwok Afghan News that "each trucker has to pay a AFN2,500 (US$34) transit fee and an additional FN 1,700 in tax.

Mr Agha said the practice was extortion because no such duty had been imposed on fruit exports under existing law and that fruit-laden trucks were made to wait at the custom's department without any reason, resulting in rotting produce.

Fresh fruit exporter Abdul Samad said more wastage was caused when Pakistani officials restricted fruit truck border crossings to one or two hours a day.

Fruits were loaded on trucks after the sunset and should reach Pakistan markets the same night, he said. But frequent delays damaged the fruit quality and cut prices.

Mr Samad asked Pakistani authorities not to create problems for them. In the past, he recalled, the border was closed for days and Kandahar fruit exporters suffered heavy losses.

Last year, Pakistan charged PKR120,000 (US$984) from each laden fruit truck. The amount has now been cut to PKR60,000

Grape exports from Kandahar to Pakistan had recently begun. Seven to eight trucks of the fruit are exported daily. Grapes ripen across the province and exports are likely to increase.
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