PIA fare hike hits mango exports to Norway hard
mango exports to Norway could be hit adversely because of
the hefty rise in the PIA freight for the Oslo sector,
exporters tell Dawn. Exporters say the national flag carrier
is charging a hefty Rs205 per kilogram for shipping mangoes
to Oslo as compared to its normal rate of Rs114 per kilogram
charged for any other destination in Europe.
‘Even the PIA mango freight rate for Toronto, Canada, is
Rs160 per kilogram despite the longer distance,’ a mango
exporter from Lahore, Syed Hasan Reza, told this reporter on
Syed Reza says all foreign airlines are charging mango
exporters up to Rs120 per kilogram for shipping their
product from Pakistan to Norway.
PIA officials say the airline has raised its mango freight
rate for Oslo because of the increasing rush of exporters.
The national flag carrier remains the exporters’ preferred
airline for shipping mangoes to Norway because of its two
direct flights every week for Oslo. But most exporters are
now starting to use foreign airlines for the purpose because
of their lower rates.
‘How long can any exporter afford to pay an extra amount of
Rs85 on kilogram of mangoes and suffer losses just to ship
his export by a direct flight or for love of his country’s
national airline?,’ asks Syed Reza.
Another exporter Shoaib Sheikh says Pakistan is exporting up
to 50 tonnes of mangoes each week to Norway. But, he says,
the PIA decision to charge ‘premium’ freight for Oslo could
hit mango exports to the Scandinavian country hard.
A PIA official, who refused to give his name, acknowledged
that the mango shipments by the national carrier to Oslo
have fallen in the recent days.
Syed Husnain Ashar Ashi, an official of the Pakistan-Norway
Chamber of Commerce, called Dawn to protest the PIA’s
‘highhandedness’ with mango exporters. He said the increase
in the cost of mango shipments is regrettable and affecting
importers. ‘We have already been forced to cancel orders
placed by some chain stores because the increased cost,’ he
Shoaib Sheikh has called upon the senior PIA management to
look into the matter and rationalise the freight charges for
the mango exporters.
‘We are not asking the PIA to stop charging premium. But we
do want it to be reasonable and competitive. Also the PIA
management should take the interest of the country into
consideration before raising its rates to unreasonable
levels,’ he says.
Courtesy: The DAWN