Coal from Afghanistan started being shipped in by rail a couple of days ago at the government’s order, the official said. The current supply of 3,000 tonnes per day is expected to rise to 20,000 tonnes daily, the official added.
The move comes after Pakistan shortened its work week last month to combat widening blackouts in the worsening energy crisis.
Reports indicate that the Afghan coal price more than doubled from US$90 per tonne to around $200 after Pakistan decided to buy the commodity from its neighbour.
However, the official said that since Islamabad was paying for the coal in rupees, the increase in prices might not make a significant impact.
Meanwhile, the government had decided to transport the coal to Pakistan’s giant power plants in Sahiwal and Hub directly by rail instead of road.
Coal transportation stations are being set up in Sibi, Kundian and Khushhaal Kot.
The government decided on June 27 to import Afghan coal for the coal-fired power plants due to high prices of petroleum products. It also approved the import of high-quality coal from Afghanistan in rupees instead of dollars to save the country’s foreign exchange.
The government estimates that shipping Afghan coal for the Sahiwal and Hub plants will cut Pakistan’s annual import bill by $2.2 billion.
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Published : July 04, 2022
By : DAWN