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SAPT plans soft launch of deep water container port in May

By Hina Mahgul Rind
January 28, 2016

KARACHI: South Asia Pakistan Terminals (SAPT) has planned a soft launch of a deep water container port, eyeing to bring its first vessel by the end of May, a company official said on Wednesday.

Rashid Jamil, Chief Executive Officer SAPT, an affiliate of Hong Kong based the Hutchison Port Holdings Limited (HPHL) said the company would invest at least $600 million in Pakistan Deep Water Container Port (PDWCP) project till 2018.

“Despite many hurdles finally the SAPT is ready to start its operations by the end of May 2016, Jamil said.

The PDWCP’s initial draft is 16 meters and designed draft of 18 meters. Karachi Port Trust has handed over one berth to PDWCP while handing over of second berth is also in pipeline.

Jamil said SAPT will market the PDWCP.

“The port will be a success and will bring considerable business in the country,” he added.

Jamil, however, was uncertain on bringing post panamax vessels or mother vessels at the port.

“Initially the port will not handle the transshipment business, may be in the later stage when the demand increases,” he added.

The PDWCP was envisioned to be the deepest container port to accommodate new generation “Triple E” vessels, carry 13,000 to 14,000 TEUs (twenty feet equivalent units).

The PDWCP will enable the country to compete with a few other ports, which are able to handle mother ships having 400-meter LOA (Length Overall), 55- meter beam and a loading capacity of over 11,000 TEUs (Twenty Feet Equivalent Unit).

Shanghai and Hong Kong are only two ports can cater mother vessels.

SAPT has already received delivery of four ship-to-shore (STS) cranes and six hybrid rubber tire cantry cranes (hRTGCs). Later this month deliveries of one STS and nine hRTGC cranes are expected.

Under the project, ten berths at 18 meters depth, with five km of quay wall have been planned. Total cost of the project is $1.6 billion. In the first phase, four berths with 1,500 meter quay wall are planned to be constructed.

The other major project related to the PDWCP at the KPT is cargo village, which was planned to be built on the western side.  A cable hanging Harbour Bridge was planned to connect Manora Island and further to cargo village at western backwaters. In later stage it was planned to extend to the Lyari Express Way and National Highway “M-2” to ease traffic congestion.

However, harbour bridge project has been shelved on nonavailability of funds.

Expert said PDWCP cannot be operated in the absence of roads and railway network. “KPT has committed that Cargo village and road and railway network will be built to make the PDWCP a success as current road and transportation network cannot cater the demand of the new port,” one expert said.

Sources said instead of harbour bridge, the port authorities are planning an alternate road network to handle cargo movements from the new port.