The Government of Pakistan has decided to fully reopen the Pakistan-Iran Taftan border for seven days for trade purposes, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Pakistan’s Interior Ministry has notified to open the border for trade only, ensuring proper SOPs and guidelines.
As per instructions, the implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) has been declared mandatory during activities on the border.
Earlier, an official statement said that on the intervention of the Speaker of National Assembly and the Special Committee on Agricultural Products, various issues faced by Mango exporters and farmers have been resolved.
The committee had deliberated on hurdles to Pakistani mango exporters particularly the upward revision of freight charges by Pakistan International Airlines and logistical issues at the Taftan border. It also urged CEO PIA to review the freight charges for mango exports and report to the committee. The committee was informed that Pakistan exported more than 14,000 tons of mango worth Rs. 400 million to Iran each year.
In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent restriction of transboundary movement, the government of Pakistan and Iran mutually agreed to open the border for three days per week from 08:00 am to 02:00 pm for vehicles carrying traded goods.
Iranian vehicles were allowed to enter Pakistan and on their way back, carry Pakistani goods to Iran. However, Pakistani trucks were not allowed to enter Iran. The number of Iranian containers was not only lesser in number but a predominantly larger number of them carry LPG thus rendering them unfit to carry mango shipments from Pakistan on their way back.
The perishable nature of the product and inordinate delay in permission for trucks to enter Iran through the Taftan border results in significant losses to mango exporters as well as the loss of foreign exchange to the country.
The committee had recommended that the Ministry of Interior should take appropriate and urgent measures during COVID-19 for resuming operations at the Taftan border, five days a week, during the mango season with extended timings to facilitate mango exports to Iran.
Additionally, the committee had recommended that Pakistani vehicles carrying mango shipments should be allowed at Iranian ports or arrangements for a minimum of 100 containers should be made which can transport mangoes to Iran excluding containers/vehicles carrying LPG.