Monday, June 23, 2014

UK and Pakistani Freight Forwarding and Logistics Groups Sign Up to Secure Afghani Cargo Routes

It is Essential That Well Forged Military Supply Chain Links Remain Open for Commercial Traffic After Cessation of Hostilities
Shipping News Feature

UK – PAKISTAN – AFGHANISTAN – Few outside the international supply chain realise the importance of logistics when it comes to assisting the troubled nations around the globe, both supporting during the times of conflict and, just as crucially, aiding the recovery when the warring factions are withdrawn or reduced. Now freight forwarding outfit Allseas Global Logistics has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Raaziq Logistics and Supply Chain Management, a firm which claims, with some justification, to be Pakistan’s leading company in the field.

A decade ago the Pakistani organisation opened two Afghan routes on behalf of NATO’s International and Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the northern route via the Khyber Pass into Kabul, an eight-day truck drive, and the shorter, three-day route into the Afghani southern regions, both of which also had a small commercial cargo element. Now the intent is that these two critical supply chain corridors are maintained by the new cooperation as the country rebuilds after years of conflict.

The routes were established by Raaziq to facilitate the transport of supplies from Port Qasim, Karachi, to military bases in Afghanistan. Raaziq also owns and operates 13 staging stations located strategically along the routes; these secure compounds provide the full range of services for up to 40 trucks each day, including toilet and washing facilities, sleeping areas, fuel and lighting and full life support.

Raaziq’s services also include arranging and escorting truck convoys along these transport corridors. The company owns a large fleet of vehicles and trucks, some of which are purely Afghanistan-registered and operated transport. This avoids the restrictions on Pakistan-registered vehicles crossing the border into Afghanistan, so that the vehicles can move freely into and out of the country, rather than transhipping cargo at the border. Raaziq also owns and manages a large fleet of refrigerated vehicles, as well as operating a refrigerated warehousing at Port Qasim.

Allseas intends to expand operations and ensure the safe passage of goods, expecting early cargo moving to include the fundamental needs for rebuilding, from cables and pipes to general construction materials, with substantial opportunities for British manufacturers and producers to supply such essentials.

Once again it is necessary for the transport industry to ensure a reasonable level of safety and security as suppliers opt to attempt the delivery of their precious goods into what, until recently, have been nothing less than war zones. Allseas’ Business Development Manager, Carl Clark, commented:

“We want to say to our commercial clients: there are these tried, trusted and secure lines of communication. At present a lot of cargoes into the region are door-to-quay because people don’t have the confidence in the door-to-door routes. But these hard-to-reach places can now be serviced on a regular and confident basis. The people at Raaziq are the absolute experts, they have been the pioneers and we will rely heavily on their expertise and experience.

“What we are talking about is some very elite infrastructure which over the past ten years has upgraded the transport regime for Pakistan and Afghanistan. As military forces move out of Afghanistan, it is so important that the transport corridors they have used are maintained and protected for commercial use. These corridors will be vital for the infrastructure and rebuild effort that will drive the commercial element forward.

“So many millions of dollars/pounds have gone into creating this infrastructure; as the military comes out, the worst case scenario would be that these corridors collapse behind them if cargo is not pushed through them on a daily basis. The network will not pay for itself and if it were to dilapidate, it would be impossible to reopen these lines of communication in a cost-efficient and reliable fashion. Hence we have made this alliance with Raaziq to support these corridors and keep them open.”