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First shipment from Uzbekistan reaches Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The first-ever shipment from Uzbekistan under the convention on the international transport of goods for traffic-in-transit across the border has reached Pakistan, commerce ministry said on Wednesday.

On May 11, a cargo vehicle with Uzbek licence plates crossed the Afghan transit route in two days and reached the Torkham checkpoint in Peshawar, according to the ministry of commerce. After the completion of customs clearance, the truck will reach the importer in Faisalabad.

The vehicle transports from Uzbekistan processed leather products (wet blue) for Pakistani leather factories.

“A new milestone has been achieved with the first-ever truck from Uzbekistan reaching Pakistan under the TIR Convention. This was the result of collaboration between the transport companies of the two sides,” Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Razak Dawood announced through his Twitter handle.

“This follows the successful shipment of first-ever cargo from Pakistan to Uzbekistan earlier this month. This is the beginning of a new era where

trucks from both sides will take trade cargo to and from Karachi and Gwadar ports.”

The customs convention on the international transport of goods under cover of TIR carnets (TIR convention) came into force in March 1978 and it replaced the original Transport Internationaux Routier (TIR) of 1959. Pakistan became a member of TIR convention in 2017 and now the convention has 68 contracting parties including China, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and all Central Asian Republics.

The objective of the TIR convention is to facilitate international transit through simplified customs transit procedures and an international guarantee system. Customs procedure takes place at origin and destination rather than at each border crossing, using a single guarantee.

Commerce adviser said connectivity with trading partners is vital for viable trade relations. The structure and efficiency connectivity networks enable access to markets and should be considered a facet of the trade competitiveness.

The long-term vision of the government for trade and economic relations with Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Central Asian Republics is to make Pakistan a hub for trade, transit and transshipment, he said.

The trade must be based on secure, open, consistent, reliable and legal movement of goods at the Afghan border along with enhanced connectivity with Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and

CARs.

This will ensure that Pakistan leverages its geo-economic location in the region to enhance its international trade. This successful TIR operation will usher a new era of direct land-route trade with the CARs.

The use of TIR system will streamline border procedure cutting time and money for trade and transport operators.

Last month, Pakistan Customs had processed the first-ever TIR consignment at Torkhum destined for Tashkent (Uzbekistan) via Afghanistan. The consignment consisted of herbal medicines and after completion of all custom formalities at Torkhum, it crossed into Afghanistan.

Direct delivery of Uzbek export goods (coal, mineral fertilisers and textiles) to Lahore, Karachi, Taxila

and Faisalabad are also under consideration.

Pakistani transport company Best Trans and Uzbek freight forwarding company Asad Trans implemented pilot trans-Afghan logistics project for the direct delivery of Uzbek export goods to Pakistan through the territory of Afghanistan, according to the ministry of commerce.

Since January, both the companies began working on a project for direct delivery through Afghanistan of Uzbek goods to Pakistani cities.