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Afghan exports take to skies as cargo route opens

Afghan exports take to skies as cargo route opens

KABUL: The Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) said at the inauguration of the air cargo route between Afghanistan and India that the first consignment will fly to India on Monday.

According to the ACCI, this will be a load of medicinal plants.

A number of Afghan businessmen and traders meanwhile welcomed the initiative and said the opening of an air cargo corridor will increase the trade volume between Afghanistan and other countries.

According to ACCI officials, the plane will carry 60 tons of medicinal plants valued at $11 million USD and will leave Afghanistan for India on Monday.

“Air cargo will help us increase our exports. Tomorrow 60 tons of medicinal plants will leave for India and after this five flights will go to India from Kabul and Kandahar per week,” said Tawfiq Davari, ACCI’s financial deputy head.

ACCI officials said the transport of every kilogram of vegetables and fresh fruit from Kabul and Kandahar to Indian markets will cost about 20 cents per kg, while the cost of every kilogram of goods from India to Afghanistan will cost about 40 cents.

Afghan traders meanwhile welcomed this move and said India was a lucrative market for them especially with fresh and dried fruits.

According to the traders, the cost of air transit to Indian’s Delhi and Amritsar markets was cheap and from there they can easily transfer their goods on to other countries around the world.

“We have taken the necessary preparations. We have built a cold room and a small packaging factory to pack the fruit properly. Also there are refrigerated vehicles,” Nejabat Haidari, head of Fresh Fruits Union said.

Meanwhile, as the air cargo corridor opens between Afghanistan and India, Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul said in a statement on Monday that Pakistan also intends to open up a transit route for Afghanistan’s exports.

A number of economic analysts meanwhile said that with continued border closures between Pakistan and Afghanistan, traders cannot count on Pakistan’s move.