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November 10, 2016

Efforts afoot to make South Asia Pakistan terminals ‘second Nandipur’


November 10, 2016

War between KPT and Sindh govt to occupy land
becomes roadblock for deep sea terminal

KARACHI: Preparations to make the South Asia Pakistan Terminal (SAPT) another Nandipur are in progress. This is due to a war between the KPT and the Sindh government to occupy land, which has become a roadblock for the deep sea terminal.

Sources said the prime minister has shown interest in expediting the process of completion of the port, which has already suffered long delays. The prime minister has shown this interest due to extra load on the three terminals, delaying trade in return.

In this case, the Prime Minister's House has expressed its desire to the terminal’s administration and the KPT to complete this project. However, it is interesting to note that the dredging process has not begun yet. The terminal administration has begun the construction with full zeal but there is not enough capacity to adjust mother ships on the terminal, which demand an operation draft of 16 metres.

It is interesting to note that a few years ago, the terminal administration had shown an interest to do channel dredging with the China Water and Engineering Company. The company had started clearing the bed by scooping out mud with a dredger, due to which land started to appear on the shore of the sea. With this, the interest of some people in KPT diverted to the newly-appeared land instead of the project.

Costing billions of rupees, this land became a centre of attraction for the Sindh Ministry of Ports and Shipping. Both started fighting over the land and the matter reached the courts. In this way, the contract with the China Water and Engineering Company became null and void and the KPT announced to carry out dredging itself, which never materialised to-date.

Even if the prime minister inaugurates the project in December, it is possible that a big ship will be put there for display like in the case of Nandipur Power Project. However, it will be practically impossible to start operations of the deep sea terminal.

The South Asia Pakistan Terminal Limited is a sub institution of multinational company HPH. According to the contract, the terminal had to start commercial activities in 2011. HPH has made an investment of USD600 million in this project, while KPT has to make an investment of USD50 million in the project.

The main reason for the delay of the project is the problem between the KPT and the Sindh government. Due to the non-availability of a deep sea terminal in Pakistan, it takes a lot of time and extra money to transport Pakistani exports to desired locations. The Pakistani exports are carried in a small ship from Pakistan and transported to the Colombo or Jebel Ali Port. Later, they are transported to the desired locations in mother ships. The presence of a deep sea terminal will highly benefit the Pakistani exports.

When we tried to contact the authorities in South Asia Pakistan Terminal, the manager corporate affairs of the said firm remarked that he was not in a position to make a comment on the present situation. However, he accepted that the dredging for their terminal was still 9 metres. He said that it was important to have 16 metres dredging for a big ship to pass.

The manager also confirmed that the Prime Minister's House had informed them that Nawaz Sharif wanted to visit the terminal in December. According to his viewpoint, they are doing their work properly.

He said that the construction of the building was completed and high-quality cranes had also been installed. He said, however, the construction of a road from the terminal and dredging are the responsibilities of KPT. He added that the new minister for ports and shipping was an able man and wanted that the terminal’s main work must now be started because this will directly help the economy of the country.

The manager added that they also wanted the operations to begin as soon as possible because they had been bearing expenses for a long time and there had been no profits at all.