PESHAWAR: Supply of cement and other goods to Afghanistan has been suspended due to strike by transporters over no increase in fares and ban on overloading.

The drivers of goods vehicles and trailers are observing strike for the last three days from Peshawar to Karachi after which supply of goods to Afghanistan has come to a halt. Overloading has been stopped for the vehicles carrying goods from Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore, Kalar Kahar and Peshawar after which export of cement and other goods has come to a halt.

Sources said the government has directed all the factories to avoid putting load of more than 40 tons on all kind of vehicles carrying goods to the neighbouring country. Officials say overloaded vehicles damage the highways and it is against the law. Overloading also damages the vehicles and increases cost of maintenance. The transporters had demanded increase in fares after the government banned overloading.

Sources said transporters bringing goods from Kalar Kahar raised the fares by Rs400 per ton, but the problem of transporters bringing goods from Karachi and Hyderabad remains unresolved. Hundreds of vehicles transport goods from Karachi and Hyderabad on daily basis and all that vehicles have stopped transporting goods for the last three days.

The sources said Rs5,000 was received from each vehicle on the Ring Road in Peshawar on daily basis. The dispute on payment of money on the Ring Road has also been not resolved yet.

Transporters are of the view that carrying weight below the limit of 40 tons is good for their vehicles and the roads, but in that case they will require increase in fares. Torkham border is presenting a deserted look after halt of goods supplies to Afghanistan from Pakistan. Business activities in the border area have also come to a halt due to strike of transporters.

The sources said talks are being held with transporters and factory owners to resolve the issue. Transporters are also demanding hike in fares due to recent increase in fuel prices. There were also reports that no loading will be carried out from Karachi till Sunday due to ongoing strike of transporters.