KARACHI: A freight corridor at an estimated cost of around $8-10 billion would be developed alongside the sea front from Karachi Port to Port Qasim for quick movement of all categories of cargoes including liquid bulk cargo.
This was stated by chairman Karachi Port Trust Rear Admiral Jamil Akhter while addressing media along with federal minister for Maritime Affairs and Foreign Affairs Abdullah Hussain Haroon in KPT here on Friday.
The KPT chairman acknowledged that the South Asia Pakistan Terminal (SAPT) was surrounded by thickly populated localities and has no direct link with any major road network of Karachi for quick movement of port traffic.
Sharing details, he said the freight corridor would have a railway track and road network along with LNG and POL pipelines.
He disclosed that some Chinese and Western companies have shown interest in the freight corridor project.
He added that KPT was also working on an elevated expressway starting from Keamari to Northern Bypass for providing signal free exist and entry road network to port traffic.
However, till such time these mega were not completed the KPT would also engage Pakistan Railways (PR) for transporting more containers from Karachi Port to upcountry, he explained.
In the past, PR used to provide only 180 bogies per month but now the railways has increased the number to 4,000 per month and this is a win-win situation because both state institutions will earn revenue by facilitating each other.
Unfortunately, Mr Akhter said, presently only one per cent of port cargo was being transported by railways whereas the world over the standard is 40pc. Once PR manages to haul more port cargo this would equally provide relief to city road network, he added.
He further disclosed that KPT is also taking up other projects like Oyster Rock Container Terminal and bulk cargo project at East and West Wharf.
Besides, work is going on for increasing the capacity of two roads passing through Clifton and all heavy vehicles/trucks parked at East and West Wharf have been removed which has also streamlined the flow of traffic, he maintained.
The chairman hoped that once these connectivity projects are completed within a period of 4-5- years many issues confronting port as well as the city of Karachi with regards to traffic jams and congestions would be mitigated.
Responding to a question, he said, after removing coal handling from Karachi Port on Supreme Court’s order, the port started handling alternate cargo like seeds having an annual volume of up to 3 million tonne. This has off-set the revenue loss incurred on account of coal handling, he said.
In response to another question, the KPT chairman said the port could go for self-financing for desalination (co-gen) plant being set-up near Oyster Rock to meet the ever increasing water crisis.
Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2018