Pakistan enforces stricter fertilizer transport regulations

Chemical fertilizer The product stock is packed in sacks, stacked in the warehouse, waiting for delivery.

Pakistan has initiated stringent enforcement of load limit regulations for the transportation of fertilizer and other commodities. This move is in alignment with international standards set by the World Bank, aimed at averting human casualties and minimizing the loss of goods and infrastructures. The enforcement prohibits vehicles from carrying loads beyond the legally prescribed weight limits on roads, highways, and motorways.

In a report by AKD Research to Fertilizer Day, it was noted that adhering to the axle load limit could lead to increased transportation costs for fertilizer companies, potentially by 4000 rupees per ton. Despite this, the Fertilizer Manufacturers of Pakistan Advisory Council (FMPAC) has not yet reported a rise in fertilizer prices. FMPAC officials, however, express concern over potential transport shortages for urea due to the gradual implementation of the axle load regime (ALR). They fear that the ALR might disrupt the fertilizer supply chain during peak periods and advocate for a phased implementation starting from January 2024.

The government, however, has resolved to enforce the axle load regime across all motorways and highways in Pakistan starting November 15, 2023. Local trade bodies predict that freight costs might escalate as the regime reduces the lifting capacity per truck, necessitating more trucks to transport the same volume of goods. This could also lead to longer load and discharge times, increasing demurrage charges for imported commodities like coal and fertilizer.

The Fleet Operators Association (FOA) of Pakistan has issued a public notice calling for the strict application of the ALR and the National Trucking Policy to safeguard human lives during cargo transportation.

A World Bank report highlights the economic impact of road accidents in Pakistan, costing approximately US$12.55 billion or 4.5% of the country’s GDP. Compliance with axle load standards could significantly reduce these losses. Additionally, Pakistan ranks 122 out of 160 countries in the World Bank’s Logistic Performance Index (LPI), lagging behind regional neighbors like Iran, India, and Bangladesh. Overloading of trucks has led to extensive human and financial losses for Pakistan, disrupting key supply chains.

The Prime Minister of Pakistan, the Ministry of Communications, the National Highways Authority (NHA), and the National Highways and Motorways Police (NH&MP) are being urged to enforce the “Axle Load Limit” as stipulated in the National Highways Safety Ordinance, 2000 (NHSO2000). The Fleet Operators Association of Pakistan demands immediate offloading of over-limit loads and strict adherence to this law in both letter and spirit.

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