Thursday December 07, 2023

FPCCI hails direct shipping links with Russia

By Our Correspondent
May 27, 2023

KARACHI: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Friday welcomed the inauguration of Pakistan-Russia shipping and cargo service, saying the initiative could help in boosting Pakistan’s falling exports.

“This development will enable Pakistani exporters to export to Russia directly and transshipment costs would be saved; and, in fact, Pakistan itself can emerge as a transshipment hub,” Suleman Chawla, acting president of FPCCI, said.

He was of the view that increased trade with Russia would usher Pakistan into a new era where considerable pressure will be reduced from the 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 said.

Chawla stated that Russia has many high-quality products to offer and 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 barrel per day; and, 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 price of petroleum products can be drastically reduced in Pakistan – one of the biggest contributors in fueling the inflationary pressures unabatedly,” FPCCI acting president said.

He demanded the government should facilitate and incentivise the shipping, transportation, logistics, container terminals, refineries and insurance companies willing to enter into Pakistan – Russia trade and commercial activities.

“The country has already wasted fair amount of time in starting to import Russian crude due to various pressures; while, as the matter of fact, there was no sanctions or legalities hindering Russian crude.”

Chawla stressed Pakistan should look for industrial collaborations, technology transfers, joint ventures, investments and joint production facilities. Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo, immediate past president of FPCCI, said 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 and sub-regional and barter trade, trade in currencies other than dollars, currency swap mechanism, establishing border markets, land-based bilateral trade, and utilising transit trade routes.

Abdullah Farrukh, convener of FPCCI’s central standing committee on shipping affairs, informed that direct shipping of cargo had kicked off between Pakistan & Russia on May 25, 2023 with the arrival of the first vessel. “The private-sector is fully geared up to play its part in fostering Pakistan – Russia trade and economic relations,” Farrukh said.