Axle load limit likely to hit Pakistan cement industry

Dispatches of cement, clinker and other raw materials to and from factories in Pakistan via local transporters is expected to become more costly after the implementation of the NHSO 2000 axle load limit on carriers from 17 February, says an official announcement from the All Pakistan Goods Transports Owners Association.

The policy will ultimately increase the cost of sales and transportation for cement industry in Pakistan, experts have observed.

The export of cement/clinker will also get costlier due to add on costs in dispatches. The transporters will drop exportable items including cement/clinker from factories for ports and pick raw materials such coal as per axle load limit. In the case of overload, they would not be allowed to move on highways, etc.

Transporters have previously called a number of strikes to get the law enforced, which is backed by local courts well. They are of the view that overloaded vehicles not only cause the destruction of national road infrastructure, but also result in the loss of thousands of lives through road accidents every year.

However, the Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has stated that the new axle load regime will have the following implications: 1) a direct increase in transportation costs and 2) a gap between demand and the supply of trucks. Under the axle load regime, fuel bills are likely to increase by US$5bn per annum, while losses due to reduced exports of fruit and vegetables would amount to PKR88bn.

The All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) is yet to comment on the issue