Government relaxes wheat export ban, allows 1.67 lakh tonnes to be loaded
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on Tuesday allowed 1,67,211 tonnes of wheat to be loaded on four partially loaded vessels at Kandla port after the department of commerce partially relaxed the ban on exports earlier in the day.
Traders say the relaxations in the May 13 order banning the export of wheat is likely to allow 400,000-500,000 tonnes of grain stranded at the ports to be shipped out quickly.
They expect at most another 300,000 tonnes of wheat to be exported under the exemption provided by the government to quantities already contracted against a letter of credit (LC), which will take the total export to about 800,000 tonnes after the ban.
The four vessels allowed additional wheat already had 80,368 tonnes loaded before the ban on May 13. MV XIN YI HAI will carry 55,000 tonnes to Brazil; MV JAG RADHA 57,000 tonnes to Bangladesh; MV VALLIANT SUMMER 66,000 tonnes to Oman; and MV PHAEDRA 69,579 tonnes to Indonesia.
They say this is not enough to clear all the trucks stranded at ports or warehouses and have sought government intervention, adding that exports were contracted on cash against delivery basis.
According to trade estimates, only 20-25% of the total wheat export contracts are expected to have been signed against the LCs.
"We have requested a meeting with the commerce minister to get clearance for all the cargo that is stuck in transit," said Rajesh Jain Paharia, a trader from Delhi.
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has started collating data on the total quantum of wheat for which LCs have been issued by different banks as also the quantity of wheat for which registration has been done with the Customs before May 13.
On Tuesday, the department of commerce allowed some relaxation in its May 13 notification banning exports. It said wheat consignments already handed over to Customs for examination and registered into their systems before May 13 would be allowed to be exported.
Also following a request from Egypt government, a wheat consignment headed for the country that was already under loading at the Kandla port will be allowed.