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Chaos at Kandla port after export ban on wheat

The snap decision taken by the central government’s to impose a ban on wheat exports has created utter confusion in many Ports of Gujarat and Maharashtra from where the wheat produced in Punjab and Haryana are exported.

The EXIM trade was taken by surprise by the sudden decision of the government to protect the domestic market.

The confusion was at its peak at Kandla port where nearly five thousand wheat laden trucks trying to seek entry into port while four partially loaded vessels could not sail as they were awaiting more quantities to be loaded.

Port authorities had a tough time to regulate the movement of wheat laden trucks. They announced that the trucks which arrived at the port before May 13 (when the export ban was announced) would be allowed to unload wheat onto ships waiting to take it to countries like Egypt and South Korea. These countries had already entered into agreement to buy wheat from India.

Trucks that came after May 13th were turned away saying they cannot be accommodated because of the export ban in force.

 The local chamber of commerce has estimated nearly four lakh tones of wheat which had arrived from Punjab and Haryana were stranded near the Kandla port. Ware houses near the port are also full since no loading onto ship took place during the last few days. The trade is upset that the government did not serve notice before unleashing the ban.

Industry sources said the situation was no better in other ports of Gujarat and Maharashtra where India’s large percentage of international trade took place.

India had previously said it was ready to help fill some of the supply shortages caused by Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, which had accounted for 12 per cent of global exports. Delegations were sent to market the Indian wheat

While India is a small exporter, its assurances of supplies from its large buffer stocks had provided some support to global prices and soothed fears of major shortages. The expected fall in wheat production due to record heat waves in wheat producing states had forced the government to reconsider exports. With wheat exports opened prices of wheat in the domestic market had also shot up contributing to the inflationary trends. With some of the major wheat producing states going for state assembly elections early next year, higher wheat prices would affect the fortunes of the ruling party and hence the knee jerk reaction says the industry sources.
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