ISLAMABAD: A Chinese shipping company is all set to start working on the Pakistan Shipping Terminal, which would ensure ‘mega-ships’ access’ to Karachi – the biggest commercial hub of Pakistan.
The Hutchison’s terminal operations will begin in Pakistan before the end of this year.
According to agreement with the Karachi Port Trust, the company planned investing in Pakistan because it was ‘poised for growth.’ “This is all part of China’s plans to invest about $46 billion power plants and road projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).”
According to KPT, most of the work is done while the leftover dredging and road work would be completed before the launch.
“Pakistan had been lagging behind big time; now we are moving into the future with this terminal being one of the deepest in the region,” said Abid Butt, CEO of a freight company.
“More than half of the country’s trade is dependent on trans-shipment,” said Butt, adding that the roads and communication networks surrounding the port needed to be expanded as well in order to manage the arrival and departure of additional cargo through the super-sized ships.
Pakistan currently handles about 2.5 million twenty-foot containers, including those from Hutchison’s first venture: Karachi International Container Terminal. The International Container Terminal was launched in 1998. South Asia Pakistan Terminals Limited is expected to manage as much as 1.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units this year and increase the national container capacity by more than 50%.
The Hutchison is expected to begin operation in October and is estimated to handle about 250,000 twenty-foot equivalent units during its first year. The port would increase it to two million units in the next five years.