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 Kamar Nor Aini Bt Kamarul Zaman
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 Daily Times, Pakistan
 Edible oil shortage feared on transporters’ strike

08/04/2008 (Daily Times, Pakistan), Karachi - The edible oil stocks in the mills all over the country remained for two to three days as the private sector transporters have stopped supply in protest on allowing National Logistic Cell (NLC) as an alternative transporter, Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association (PVMA) said here on Monday.

"The transporters are adamant on their demands for the last four days and challenging the writ of Port Qasim Authority, that has failed to clear the blocked passage, besides they are also hindering the supply by National Logistic Cell (NLC)," Nasir Ibrahim, senior member of PVMA said.

He said NLC could only cater to 25 to 30 percent of the total supply to the mills in the country while the transporters in private sector are not affected by NLC operation.

Ibrahim said around 90,000 tonne of edible oil is left in stocks of ghee and oil manufacturing units, which usually keep stocks for two or three days. "It is alarming that the mills in different parts of the country including Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Attar, Nowshera, Peshawar and Hyderabad are suffering the most."

Around 500 tankers were on the strike and dozens of NLC tankers loaded with the edible oil are stranded on the port Qasim.

He said, "PVMA, in order to break the monopoly of the CBA of private sector transporters had agreed to involve NLC in transporting the edible oil. The business of to private sector transporters is not affected by NLC but they wanted to keep their upper hand on mills."

Sheikh Amjad Rasheed, a senior member of PVMA said due to non-cooperative and stubborn attitude of the private transporter community, the mills would suffer production losses. The government authorities should take appropriate steps to avoid shortage of edible oil and ghee in the country.

He said transportation process of edible oil from Karachi to Lahore and other parts of the country takes around seven days to reach at the mills. There will, however, be no reduction on the transporting rates presently being paid to them. He said that industry is still suffering from the energy crisis and immediate solution of this crisis must be initiated on war footing.

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