Salt Manufacturers Urge Government Support Amid Red Sea Crisis

Salt Manufacturers Urge Government Support Amid Red Sea Crisis

Karachi, December 27, 2023 – The Salt Manufacturers Association of Pakistan (SMAP) issued a plea for government intervention on Wednesday, seeking support to address rising freight charges amidst the ongoing Red Sea crisis.

The salt export industry in Pakistan faces unprecedented challenges, and the SMAP calls for urgent action to prevent a potential collapse with far-reaching consequences.

Qasim Yaqoob Paracha, Acting Chairman of SMAP, emphasized the severity of the situation, stating, “Our salt exporters are navigating through an unprecedented crisis.” Disruptions in the Red Sea have led to significant rerouting of vessels, causing a substantial increase in shipping costs. This surge poses a significant threat to businesses within the salt sector, jeopardizing livelihoods and the stability of the export industry.

Paracha stressed the immediate need for a comprehensive government response, highlighting the crucial aspect of stabilizing freight costs. Proposed solutions include temporary subsidies, negotiated shipping rates, or alternative routes to ensure the sustainable operation of salt exporters facing economic strain.

In addition to stabilizing costs, Paracha called for the implementation of targeted incentives for salt exporters. Proposed measures include freight rebates or temporary tax relief to bridge the cost gap and stimulate export growth, thereby safeguarding the industry and the jobs it supports.

Addressing the role of the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC), Paracha urged the corporation to contribute to resolving the crisis. Suggestions included adding more ships to the fleet, temporarily operating in the affected route, and negotiating with shipping companies outside the crosshairs of Houthi militants. The goal is to secure competitive rates, dedicated shipping routes, and prioritize Pakistani cargo, symbolizing national self-reliance and supporting the revival of exports.

Paracha highlighted that government intervention would not only benefit the salt export industry but also have positive outcomes for other Pakistani exporters. A stabilized shipping environment contributes significantly to the country’s foreign exchange reserves and the overall economic health of various sectors.

In conclusion, the SMAP statement issued a heartfelt plea for swift government action, recognizing the broader impact on livelihoods, the economy, and Pakistan’s resilience. Paracha called upon the Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, and other relevant authorities to understand the gravity of the situation and act promptly. The survival of the salt export industry hangs in the balance, and decisive action is imperative for its continued viability.