On Monday Pakistan sent its first shipment of vegetables by sea to Dubai. The shipment was a trial for future plans to increase exports to India with lower shipping costs when compared to that by air.
The shipment included nine vegetables including tomato, brinjal, cucumber, carrot, okra, long melon and others and was shipped on an experimental basis as part of the Agricultural Market Development (AMD) project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
“The freight service via sea will not only drastically reduce the cost of the project, but will also enable exporters to tap more markets in the UAE and other Gulf countries,” said Waheed Ahmed, former chairman of the Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association.
Calculations suggest the average per kg cost of air shipment to Dubai is around Rs80 per kg compared to Rs5 per kg by sea route, which would make shipping around 94% cheaper for exporters.
“If this experiment turns out to be a success, the country will be able to increase its vegetable exports by 500% in the next two to three years,” Ahmed added.