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December 4, 2020

Pakistan streamlines Afghan trade

Business

December 4, 2020

URUMQI: Pakistan has markedly improved cargo movement at a key border crossing with Afghanistan by decreasing bottlenecks and congestion, after implementing recommendations published by Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Institute, a statement said.

“While Pakistan has made significant efforts to improve its border crossings in recent years including approving a National Transport Policy in 2018, the policy brief found that border-crossings along CAREC corridor 5 – a key trade and transport route running through Pakistan into Afghanistan – were particularly time-consuming and costly due to regulatory barriers, inadequate road infrastructure, and a lack of coordination among other reasons,” the institute said in a press release.

In one instance, approximately 4,000 trucks were stuck at the Torkham crossing with Afghanistan in July 2020, due to delayed clearance at Karachi seaport in part because of a lack of automation at the border crossing, it said.

Syed Shakeel Shah, Director at the CAREC Institute, in the statement said, “All these positive developments and resolution of an unprecedented COVID-19 related congestion in the summer 2020 at Torkham is a classic example of inter-agency cooperation”.

“This shows what can be achieved when various levels of government – federal, provincial, district – pursue a single objective, coupled with much-needed political will and support.”

Shah said Asian Development Bank (ADB), the CAREC Institute, and the CAREC Program were committed to providing our members an independent assessment of the situation in their countries, and equipping the governments with the ground level corridor monitoring data and analysis and international best practice to help uplift good governance, policy development, service standards and livelihoods of people across CAREC member countries. The findings were shared with the government of Pakistan in the form of the Corridor Performance Measurement and Monitoring (CPMM) Policy Brief, an analytical brief that highlights opportunities to improve efficiency along the country’s major economic corridors.