September 28, 2006


India will not accept Russian wheat shipment unless cleaned



India won't accept a cargo of around 50,000 tonnes of imported wheat of Russian origin that recently failed quality test at the southern port of Chennai unless it is cleaned and upgraded, a senior government official said Wednesday (Sep 27).


"We are unlikely to resample the cargo for testing unless the trading firm that sold the wheat to us upgrades it qualitatively," the official told Dow Jones Newswires.


He said the results of the quality test have been conveyed to the selling company.


"We won't accept the shipment in its current state," the official said.


Under the norms prescribed in the tender issued in June, the wheat should not have contained more than 1.0 percent foreign matter but the report of the port health officer shows it around 1.1 percent.


India's federal government contracted imports totalling 5.5 million tonnes wheat through State Trading Corp between February and September by issuing five tenders. Deliveries are currently underway.


The official said that since large volumes have been purchased, a message has to be sent to the trading firms that sold wheat to India that there will be no compromise on quality.


"Apparently the sellers have an option to clean the wheat at port of discharge itself," said the government official.


Several other cargoes of Russian origin have all passed the quality tests, he said.


He said quality issues have also been faced in wheat imports in April and May from Australia and they were all amicably settled.


The official said in the case of the Australian wheat shipment in April, the port officials had not taken the sample for quality test properly and the shipment passed the tests on resampling.


"In the latest case the sampling procedures were properly followed and the cargo unfortunately failed the test," he said.


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