KARACHI: Port Qasim Authority (PQA) Chairman Rear Admiral (retired) Syed Hasan Nasir Shah said on Wednesday the country’s largest industrial zone will soon get back the 1,250-acre piece of land that it allotted to Textile City Ltd in 2006 on a 50-year lease.

Speaking at the inauguration of an integrated logistics park set up at Port Qasim by an international firm, Admiral Shah said the PQA has received the cabinet’s authorisation to cancel the lease of the doomed project and transfer the pricey real estate back to the authority.

The project, which was conceived in 2004 as a dedicated industrial zone for textile exporters within the PQA, hit snags before its take-off and was eventually shelved. However, the sizeable piece of land remained unusable for the PQA, which holds around 8,700 acres for industrial units.

Speaking to Dawn on the sidelines of the ceremony, Admiral Shah said the PQA will sign a contract in the next two months for the establishment of a Rs5 billion combined effluent treatment plant — a modern-day necessity that was absent from the country’s largest industrial zone that has over 400 industrial units in operation.

“One big handicap that we’ve faced for many, many years is the navigational channel,” he said while referring to the 49-kilometre long passage that allows ships with 13-metre draft, which is the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull.

“There’ve been lots of complaints by stakeholders that we should go deeper. The deeper we go, the bigger-draft ships can call. Of course, it requires a huge investment,” he said.

The PQA wasn’t financially stable a few years back, but it can sufficiently fund the expansion now on its own, the chairman noted.

In view of the “foreign exchange situation”, however, the PQA is requesting its “partners” to arrange financing for the project. If negotiations are successful, the port will be allowing access to deeper ships in only 18 months through a widened navigational channel, he said with reference to the planned increase in the channel’s width from 200 metres to 250 metres.

Logistics park

Meanwhile, supply-chain company A.P. Moller – Maersk inaugurated its integrated logistics park, which will act as a warehouse that includes a cold storage and a consolidation and fulfilment centre, at Port Qasim.

Built on a 26-acre land parcel with a six-shed facility, the logistics park will meet all requirements of the company’s customers through a single location.

Speaking to Dawn, Maersk Pakistan Managing Director Hasan Faraz said the logistics firm has a 22 per cent share in the country’s trade with international partners.

The new facility will cater to the storage requirements of cargo from retail and lifestyle, fast-moving consumer goods, automotive and technology sectors, he said.

“Located within Port Qasim, the logistics park will be a perfect warehouse destination for customers to manage their import and export cargoes with the least time delays while connecting to and from vessels,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2022

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