Published On:September 5 2007
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Pak mulls fourth seaport

Dubai: Pakistan Government is planning to build fourth seaport in a bid to handle growing cargo volumes in the country. According to Shipping Minister Babar Khan Ghauri, the government will make the announcement to this effect shortly.

'We are looking to build our fourth port. In a few months we will make an announcement,' Babar quoted as saying by the Gulf-based media.

'We will start construction in 2008. No site has yet been decided,' he told the daily.

According to Karachi Port Trust (KPT) chairman Ahmad Hayat, Pakistan's seaborne trade from July 2005 to June 2006 stood at 53 million tonnes, growing by 12 per cent in a year.

Container volume grew by 20 per cent to 1.75 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) during the same period.

Pakistan has two ports at Karachi and one at Gwadar in the province of Balochistan. The Port of Gwadar will become operational in March next year as the first phase work nears completion.

It has received $300 million investment from China and the Pakistan government has invested $50 million.

A new port with a handling capacity of some 4.5 million TEUs per year and a quay of 4.5 kilometres is also being developed in three phases at Karachi.

Ghauri said nine major companies, including DP World and a consortium that includes Sharjah's Gulftainer, have been shortlisted to manage Pakistan's Deepwater Container Port.

Ghauri could not provide estimates of the financial investment Pakistan needs to develop its port infrastructure. 'In the port sector, the sky is the limit,' he said.

Meanwhile, Karachi Port Trust (KPT) chairman Ahmad Haya told the daily that $2.5 billion worth of projects were underway in Karachi. These include the $1.2-billion deepwater port at Keamari near Karachi, set to open in 2009.

The project will be funded 60 per cent by KPT and the rest by three port operators that will manage the three container terminals.

Other projects include development of a cargo village and an industrial zone in Karachi and modernisation of several bulk cargo berths.

DP World, the world's third biggest port management firm, is investing $211 million in a new container terminal at Port Qasim. It already manages one terminal, acquired when it bought P&O earlier this year.

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