Wheat export ban: Transporters facing Rs 3 cr daily losses in Gujarat

Gandhidham: The Central government’s decision to ban wheat exports has had a cascading effect on the transport and shipping business. In Kandla-Gandhidham, the transport industry is suffering a loss of Rs 3 crore a day, because more than 5,000 trucks are stranded with wheat, as there is no place to unload and exporters are not taking calls.

Not a single dry cargo godown is empty, because of which wheat for exports is lying in trucks, and some 5,000 to 6,000 trucks are waiting outside the Kandla ports, in Gandhidham; if daily waiting charges are calculated, truck owners are facing a minimum Rs 3 crore loss, said Satvir Singh Lohan, Secretary of the Gandhidham Goods Transport Association.

The tragedy of transporters is that export parties have stopped taking calls from transporters, it has created a dilemma in the minds of transporters, whether they will pay for waiting for charges or not, and if the exporter does not call back goods who will pay for transport charges and what to do with wheat stock, questions Lohan.

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According to Lohan’s information, Deendayal Port Authority (Kandla Port) has asked seven ships to vacate the jetty and return to the high sea and were not allowed to load wheat. The port authority’s traffic manager G R V Prasad Rao has not responded to questions asked by IANS. If these vessels are stranded high in the sea, the demurrage charges will run into crores of rupees, and hundreds of crores, if loading does not resume in the same quantity soon.

Alone in stranded trucks, some 2.5 to 3 lakh Metric tons of wheat is stuck, if the godown and warehouse stock is calculated, it can touch one and a half to two million metric tons, estimates Rakesh Gurjar from G S Infra port, a Customs broker.

“Situation will improve once clarification on notification comes, it can’t be called the blanket ban on wheat exports, on the contrary, it is channelised export, because notification allows exports to needy nations, but exporters have to get prior permission from the government of India,” said Biren Vakil, Commodity consultant.

He also presumes that sooner or later the government will have to relax export norms because across the world wheat production is going to drop, the reason is weather and fewer rains, exports from Ukraine have dwindled, and major nations will be importing wheat this year, the demand is to be met by one or the other nation.

India has banned exports of wheat effective immediately, citing a risk to food security, partly due to the war in Ukraine and as a scorching heatwave curtailed output and domestic prices hit a record high. However, in a related development, the Centre on Tuesday announced some relaxation in wheat export.

It has now decided that wherever wheat consignments have been handed over to Customs for examination and have been registered into their systems on or prior to May 13, such consignments would be allowed to be exported.

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