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Sunday May 19, 2024

Pakistan expecting investment in port infrastructure by global shipping giant Maersk

By News Desk
May 08, 2024
Maersk Karachi vessel was welcomed at the South Asia Pakistan Terminals (SAPT) for the first time on the recently updated FI3 ocean service. — X/@Hutchison Ports Pakistan/File
Maersk Karachi vessel was welcomed at the South Asia Pakistan Terminals (SAPT) for the first time on the recently updated FI3 ocean service. — X/@Hutchison Ports Pakistan/File

KARACHI: Pakistan is expecting investment from a Denmark-based global shipping giant, AP Moller–Maersk (Maersk), in its port terminal and infrastructure, the Pakistani maritime affairs minister said on Tuesday, amid growing global interest in Pakistani ports.

The statement comes more than a week after Maersk Chief Executive Officer Keith Svendsen’s visit to Pakistan, where he met top officials to explore opportunities in Pakistan’s maritime sector.

Maritime Affairs Minister Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh told Arab News the Danish shipping firm was interested in investing in a terminal and port as well as allied infrastructure, including connecting bridges.

“We had very good discussions with them and they had shown eagerness and told us that they will submit proposal in a few days,” he said. “They want to take a terminal. There is some area where there is depth in the sea, where big ships can be anchored.”

Maersk has grown into a leading provider of logistics and supply-chain services across Pakistan. It has around 20 percent market share in Pakistan’s containerized import-export activities, according to Pakistan’s information ministry.In January, the Danish shipping firm announced new smart logistics and warehouse facilities in China, Norway and Pakistan.

“With a vast network of warehousing and depot facilities across the country, including our flagship logistics hub in Port Qasim, Karachi — a sprawling 27-acre complex encompassing over 650,000 square feet of warehouse space — we ensure unparalleled support to Pakistani exporters and importers,” the shipping company said in a written response to Arab News.

“In total, Maersk now operates over a 1.5 million square feet footprint across 7 cities in Pakistan.”Sheikh said many companies were interested in investing in the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) despite a limited space available there.

“We have limited space available in KPT and many, including foreign, companies are taking interest in it, particularly in the deep-water areas where water depth is high and we have the location,” he said.“The point is that there is a lot of interest in Pakistan’s port right now because they are seeing this as a global hub for transshipment and they will also run the feeder vessels in the Gulf from here.”

To a question about a visiting Saudi delegation, the maritime affairs minister said “there are many breakthroughs” during the visit. “They are looking for areas of mutual interest which both sides can benefit from,” he added.

The South Asian nation has already signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi (AD) Ports Group which is investing about $395 million for the development of a container and cargo terminal under a government-to-government (G2G) agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan.