Pak govt allows Gwadar Port to resume Afghan transit trade

The Pakistan government has granted permission for the resumption of Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) activities through the Gwadar Port amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a media report.

According to a notification of the Ministry of Commerce, the bulk cargo arriving at the Gwadar Port would be sent to Afghanistan in line with the international standards, The Express Tribune reported.

“The trucks leaving the Gwadar Port for Afghanistan under the ATT Agreement, would be completely sealed,” the notification reads.

“The trucks would be allowed to ferry wheat, sugar and manure as well as have a tracking system installed in them.”

The permission was granted on the requests of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other institutions concerned, the report said.

The port was opened for transit trade in the beginning of October 2019 and the first ship arrived on October 8.

With the first cargo in January this year, the Gwadar Port had started handling transit cargo to and from Afghanistan.

In January, Gwadar Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Mir Naveed Kalmati had urged the federal government to divert the ATT cargo handling to Gwadar Port on a permanent basis.

“This development will provide jobs to the youth and create economic activity, which in turn would counter insurgency in Balochistan,” he had said.

The Afghanistan–Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement is a bilateral trade agreement signed in 2010 that calls for greater facilitation in the movement of goods amongst the two countries.

Pakistan handles around 48 per cent of total Afghan exports and approximately 60 per cent of Afghan transit trade goes through the Torkham border.

The strategic Gwadar Port in Balochistan province on the Arabian Sea is being built by China under the multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.