US container pre-screening expansion plans in Pak hampered by visa delays: Patterson

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Karachi, Jan 7(ANI): U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson has said that delay in issuing of visas to American inspectors, who will train Pakistani employees working at Port Qasim, has brought the Obama administration's container pre-screening expansion plans to a standstill.

"The United States wants to facilitate rapid clearance of Pakistani export consignments at American ports, but the expansion plan is facing hurdles due to a delay in the issuing of visas to American inspectors who have to train Pakistani employees working at Port Qasim," The Daily Times quoted Patterson, as saying.

Patterson further said that the Pakistan Government had yet not set aside the necessary land to the US at the Karachi Port under the expansion programme, which would allow another 100,000 containers to be screened each year.

"This would enhance export containers handling from 46,000 containers per annum in 2009 to 146,000 in 2010," Patterson said.

She also said that the lack of support from the Government might shrink or even lapse the expansion programme costing Pakistani exporters millions of dollars in security screening cost. (ANI)

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