Port Qasim to get three high standard terminals soon

Javed MirzaWeb Editor

28th Jun, 2021. 04:57 pm

KARACHI: The Port Qasim Authority (PQA) intends to establish new state-of-the-art port terminals, including two multipurpose cargo and one integrated container terminal at Port Qasim to augment its capacity to handle the break bulk and general cargo, an official said on Monday.

“[The] Port Qasim Authority cargo handling capacity is growing at [a] steady pace but in [the] recent years, its growth rate has exponentially increased. This has manifested due to conversion of marginal wharves in dedicated port terminals as a brown field development, strategic location of the port, its natural advantage of connectivity with hinterland through rail-road and 24/7 operations,” the official said.

The available two marginal wharves without appropriate mechanised cargo handling has created a demand for the establishment of the new port terminals, while the Port Qasim is the port of choice for consignees.

The addition of a 4km navigational channel has generated new possibilities. The vast operational industrial zones also provided new opportunities of businesses in close proximity to the port, he said.

The official also said: “There is [an] opportunity to establish new berths for multipurpose cargo as per [the] PQA business plan based on the landlord concept. This will alleviate the congestion on marginal wharves 1 and 2 and will meet the growing future needs.”

The Port Qasim Authority has also invited proposals from the international consultancy firms for the establishment of additional terminals.

The Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT), an existing terminal at Port Qasim, handled 1.2 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) in 2019/20. The rise in container handling is steady and soon it will grow at a rapid pace with deepening, widening and straightening of the main and inner navigational channel to reach its maximum capacity.

The federal government is actively pursuing the transshipment rules and reforms in the existing rules for cross-stuffing, de-stuffing, re-export, transit cargo and inter port cargo to attract transit trade from the Central Asian Republics (CARs) and trans-shipment.

The authority is also working on the concept of providing the off-docks with rail and road connectivity to Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and CARs on a specific site. This will increase the container handling demand at PQA and existing terminals would be clogged and new openings of transshipment and transit trade will not take place due to space and berth issues.

Thus, there is a necessity to develop the infrastructure to meet the future requirements.

The official said the new container terminal has to benefit from the available technology and it should be in sync with the demands of the technology in future, both in terms of container handling and ships design.

“A fully integrated terminal exploiting the techniques of information technology and minimal human intervention is the need of [the] hour. The terminal should be state-of-the-art, optimising the quay wall length and should take advantage of deepened, widened and straightened navigational channels of PQA,” the official said.

In this regard, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs moved a summary to the federal government, seeking approval and to amend the master plan of PQA. The terminals were approved, in principle, with the approval to amend the master plan.

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