Islamabad, November 25, 2023 (PAKONOMY): In the ever-evolving realm of economic strategies in Pakistan, the recent enforcement of the Axle Load Revolution (ALR) has incited a myriad of responses, notably from the entities involved in the transportation of goods. This piece endeavors to delve into the intricate consequences of the ALR, probing its capacity to instigate inflation and its impact on diverse sectors.
In the midst of divergent viewpoints regarding the ALR, the sector of cement production emerges as a noteworthy participant profoundly impacted by this regulatory transition. Manufacturers of cement based in Punjab have actively increased the prices by Rs50 per 50 kg sack, foreseeing the imminent imposition of the ALR. Similarly, prices in the southern region are poised to experience an escalation of Rs30-40 per sack. DG Khan Cement, during a corporate briefing, foresaw a possible ascent of Rs14-15 in the prices of cement sacks subsequent to the enforcement of the ALR.
The legal terrain introduces an added layer of intricacy to the narrative of the ALR. The Sindh High Court (SHC) temporarily halted a communication issued by the National Highway Authority (NHA), restricting the transportation of goods surpassing the prescribed axle load limit until November 16. This verdict was stimulated by a legal action initiated by the Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) and others, challenging the NHA’s notification of October 12.
The repercussions of the ALR extend beyond the realm of cement, influencing a variety of indispensable commodities. The Chairman of PFMA for Sindh Zone, Aamir Abdullah, accentuates the potential upswing in wheat prices by at least Rs3 per kg in the event of the implementation of the ALR. Furthermore, the All Pakistan Solvent Extractors’ Association (APSEA) envisions a surge of Rs12-14 per kg in the prices of edible oil and Rs8-10 per kg in chicken prices due to heightened freight charges.
The government’s tenacity in implementing the ALR on highways and motorways presents a probable surge in foreign exchange expenses, particularly in relation to fuel. The head of APSEA cautions that a significant reduction in the loading capacity of trucks, notably on 22-wheelers and 10-wheelers, might lead to a surge of 50-60% in freight prices. If this materializes, the consequences could be substantial for the industry of extracting edible oil.
Various leaders in different sectors share their viewpoints on the impact of the ALR. The Executive Director of Fertilizer Manufacturers of Pakistan Advisory Council (FMPAC), Sher Shah Malik, underscores the necessity of a phased implementation of the ALR. The General Secretary of PALSP, Wajid Bukhari, anticipates a potential increase of Rs3,000-5,000 per tonne in the prices of steel bars, contingent on the distance of transportation.
As the ALR persistently transforms the economic panorama, the General Secretary of PALSP, Wajid Bukhari, and the Senior Vice Chairman of the All Pakistan Goods Transport Owners Association (APGTOA), Imdad Hussain Naqvi, furnish insights into the broader economic challenges. While recognizing the role of the ALR, Naqvi emphasizes other contributing factors such as exchange rates, hoarding, speculative trading, profiteering, and ineffective price checking campaigns as substantial factors in the existing surge in prices.