Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) Chairman Pasand Khan Buledi March 2 said the import of wheat from Russia had started through the Pakistani port of Gwadar, reports The Nation. According to the agreement, a total of 450,000 metric tonnes (496,000 tons) of wheat will be imported via nine ships. The first ship, MV Leela Chennai, has already reached Gwadar Port, carrying 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat.
The GPA chairman said that China Overseas Ports Holding Company, Trading Corporation of Pakistan, Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation Limited, Pakistan Customs and National Logistics Cell will play their respective roles for import, unloading, storage and delivery of the wheat.
The Ministry of National Food Security and Research opened a tender for the import of wheat on November 30, 2022, considering the results of the 7th international tender and G2G offer by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on behalf of the Russian company Prudentroj.
Russia is the world’s number one exporter of wheat, exporting volumes worth more than $7.3 billion in 2021. Although Western sanctions imposed on Moscow in response to its invasion of Ukraine do not target grain, Reuters reports that Russian officials have said sanctions imposed on the Russian financial sector have made it harder for grain exporters to process payments in banks and obtain vessels, trade finance and insurance.
Buledi said the agreement to import such a large volume of wheat was a remarkable development towards improving the natural capacity of Gwadar Port as a logistics hub in the area which would contribute $10 billion to Pakistan’s GDP.
He added it would also increase employment potential at the local level as “the season begins for unloading, storage and delivery of imported wheat, so for this, large scale skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled manpower will be required here,” he said.