ISLAMABAD - A courier company’s management has finally heaved a sigh of relief following the recovery of an Afghanistan-bound medical shipment worth over 100 million rupees the courier firm had misplaced, which was the purported property of NATO.
Reportedly, the consignment would be aerially shipped to Afghanistan through another courier service this week after the fulfilment of official requirements.
On Thursday last week, the TCS Express and Logistics had misplaced the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) shipment comprising three heavy machines that were to be used in Afghanistan in the areas where the NATO and international organisations like United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and United States Agency for International Development (UASID) ran humanitarian/health projects for the deprived Afghan public. The development involving the shipment’s loss was brought to light by this newspaper on Saturday in the story headlined “Courier firm misplaces NATO’s Rs 100m shipment.”
The consignee, a Pakistani firm, said, it was set to sue the courier company for the negligence shown in handling of an important consignment but changed its decision after the TCS tendered an unconditional apology.
Faheemullah Baig at TCS and Abdul Khaliq at Briogene Private Limited, the consignee, had formally confirmed to The Nation earlier on Thursday that the shipment had gone missing.
According to details, the TCS had transported the said consignment from Karachi to Islamabad earlier last week. Briogene Ltd, a healthcare solution provider, had placed the shipment order and paid TCS Rs 100,000 as courier charges. The company said, it imported the machines from Germany, which came to Pakistan via Singapore and were to be sent to Afghanistan. The TCS was supposed to handover the three machines weighing 150 kilograms and 100 kg (two each) to Briogene on Wednesday but it delivered the equipment to the wrong address. The next day, the courier company informed the consignee that the equipment was delivered to its office located at Airport Villas Chaklala Rawalpindi.
The company denied having received the consignment and sent its senior management members to the TCS largest logistical warehouse located in Khanna Pul Rawalpindi for the shipment’s recovery. The TCS, after initial inquiry, told Briogene, the said shipment was actually delivered to ‘neighbours’ at a house located next to Briogene’s office Wednesday night, citing the closure of the company’s office at that time. The company refused to buy this explanation saying a heavy equipment weighing over 350 kg could not be offloaded to any neighbouring house and that Briogene did not have any ‘neighbours’ at the particular office.
NATO Spokesman in Afghanistan Brigadier General Heinz Feldmann, on contact, had asked this correspondent on Thursday to send the relevant queries regarding the issue through an email. The email was sent the same day and again on Friday but it went unreturned.
A senior intelligence official, desiring to stay unnamed, had said, the Afghanistan-bound medical machinery was usually not transported in NATO containers, since, he said, this could cause damage to these machines while their transportation through courier companies was a much safer way. “These kinds of machines are usually transported from Western countries to Pakistan from where they go to Afghanistan using aerial routes. Apart from safety, this procedure is also followed considering the convenience factor regarding customs duty, security clearance and other charges,” the insider had said.
Faheemullah Baig, the Senior Manager and In-charge of TCS Express and Logistics Centre and warehouse at Khanna Pul, had said Thursday. “Efforts are on to recover the consignment. It’s a very serious issue because I’ve been told that the machinery in question amounts in millions of rupees. We’ll exhaust every option to recover it. If the shipment is not recovered by tonight (Thursday night), we’ll launch a detailed inquiry and decide what to do next.”
Abdul Khaliq, Application Specialist, Briogene, had confirmed that the medical equipment was Afghanistan-bound where it was to be used for conducting screening tests for hepatitis, tuberculoses and other diseases.
Refusing to disclose whether the three machines belonged to the NATO, he had said, “I cant’ divulge who the shipment was going to, but I can tell that TCS was supposed to bring the machines from Karachi to Islamabad. We paid the TCS over a hundred thousand rupees as courier charges and the machines valued more than 100 million rupees. We’ll not let it go, we’ll sue the TCS for this negligence if our shipment is not recovered.”
Reportedly, the shipment was recovered Saturday night from a house located in Street 4-A at the Airport Villas Chaklala Rawalpindi where it was mistakenly delivered while Briogene’s office is located in Street 4 in the same housing society.
When called again on Tuesday, Baig refused to share any details regarding the shipment’s recovery saying he was no longer authorised to comment on the issue.
Khaliq, on the other hand, confirmed the consignment’s recovery, saying the TCS tendered an unconditional apology to Briogene for the negligence. “Considering their apology, we’ve decided to let it go. We’re not going to sue them.”