KARACHI: President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Junaid Esmail Makda, while taking serious note of the comments given by Chairman National Highway Authority (NHA) Jawwad Rafiq Malik about the Axle Load Regime which were aired by a local TV Channel, stated that KCCI convened many meetings with all stakeholders and also attended the last meeting convened by the Ministry of Communications in Islamabad where KCCI totally disagreed over the Axle Load Regime proposed by the Ministry of Communications as it was not practical at all.
“Chairman NHA has given misleading remarks by falsely claiming that the Karachi Chamber and other Chambers along with Goods Transporters have agreed on the Axle Load Regime which we deny”, Junaid Makda said, “We don’t know about others but we never accepted the Axle Load Regime.”
He said that KCCI, being the premier Chamber of the country, played the role of bridge between the policymakers and stakeholders by convening several meetings with representatives from Karachi Customs Agents Association, United Goods Transporters Alliance, Pakistan Goods Transporters Association and Supreme Council of All Pakistan Transporters who all agreed to ask the Ministry of Communications to devise Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for implementation of the Axle Load Regime but unfortunately, it was abruptly implemented individually by the Ministry of Communication without devising any SOPs. All this was being done on the behest of the lobe from KPK only.”
While referring to Chairman NHA’s remarks about formation of Committee in March 2018 for Axle Load Regime, he said that Karachi Chamber, which represents the financial, industrial, commercial and trading hub of the country, was not taken on board in the said Committee tasked to finalize and implement the Axle Load Regime.
“How could we simply agree upon an anti-business step that would double the transportation cost, raise the cost of doing business and was purely negating the government’s policy towards the Ease of Doing Business, he asked while urging Chairman NHA to strictly refrain from associating his personal opinion and comments with KCCI.
He said that the load for 20-feeter container laden on a three axle truck has been reduced from 30 tons to 17.5 tons and it was technically not possible to fragment consignments into pieces either within the port or outside. This unrealistic regime would not only raise the cost of doing business but would also overburden the economy by multiplying the oil import bill as the consumption of diesel was likely to go up by 60-70 percent.
He further pointed out that it was a matter of grave concern that the concerned authorities have never embarked on any maintenance work at the road network of Karachi Port Trust and Port Qasim Authority since many decades yet no damage is being caused to the roads by the heavy vehicles so how could these vehicles cause any damage to NHA highways.
Instead of giving misleading remarks, NHA should focus on its primary task to maintain the roads and highways infrastructure of the country, which need to be brought at par with the international standard and as per WTO regime while the international best practices must be also adopted for vehicles’ load limit, he advised.
Junaid Makda urged the Ministry of Communications to withdraw the recently implemented Axle Load Regime until all the stakeholders and representatives of the business & industrial community reach a consensus over this issue.