Pakistan, Dubai ink $3 billion pacts at Davos

Published January 19, 2024
Pakistan and Dubai on Thursday inked two agreements worth over $3 billion on cooperation in railways, economic zones and infrastructure projects. — via X/DP_World
Pakistan and Dubai on Thursday inked two agreements worth over $3 billion on cooperation in railways, economic zones and infrastructure projects. — via X/DP_World

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Dubai on Thursday inked two agreements worth over $3 billion on cooperation in railways, economic zones and infrastructure projects.

According to an official press release, the inter-governmental framework agreements were signed to strengthen relations in the marine and logistics sectors, including the establishment of a dedicated freight corridor and economic zone near Karachi.

“The rail-based dedicated freight corridor (DFC) was planned to run from Karachi Port on the Arabian Sea, passing through Karachi to the Pipri Marshalling Yard, approximately 50 kilometres away. This will reduce traffic congestion in Karachi, improve road efficiency and transport time besides drastically reducing logistic costs,” the press release said.

Federal Minister for Communication, Railways and Maritime Affairs Shahid Ashraf Tarar and Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC), government of Dubai, signed the agreements on the sidelines of World Economic Forum in Davos.

Agreements cover railways, economic zones and infrastructure projects

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar witnessed the signing of the agreements following a meeting with Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, who is also Group Chairman and CEO of UAE-based DP World, a multinational logistics company.

Speaking on the occasion, PM Kakar expressed satisfaction over the growth of exchanges, interaction and cooperation between businesses in Pakistan and the UAE and highlighted their transformative potential.

He welcomed the DP World’s interest in expanding its business in Pakistan and assured the company of the Pakistan government’s continued support.

“Pakistan will continue to facilitate partner enterprises to realise its geo-economic vision as a hub of commerce and industry,” the prime minister said.

The agreements will cover cooperation in development of a dedicated freight corridor, multi-model logistics park, and freight terminals.

The DP World will carry out infrastructure improvement at Port Qasim International Container Terminal and plans to develop an economic zone near the terminal to strengthen bilateral relations in the marine and logistics sectors.

The DP World will act on behalf of the Dubai government, while Pakistan Railways and Port Qasim Authority will represent the Pakistan government, for development of these projects.

A second framework agreement was signed with Pakistan’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs to dredge the navigation channel.

DP World will carry out the capital dredging on behalf of the government of Dubai. This framework agreement will also see development of an economic zone at Port Qasim, which aims to attract more than $3 billion of foreign direct investment. DP World will carry out the development of the economic zone, with the aim to enhance economic activities in Pakistan.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Shahid Tarar said DP World has longstanding presence in Pakistan. He said the two brotherly countries have decided to further consolidate economic cooperation through landmark projects.

The signing of the agreements, he said, highlights the importance of Pakistan as a gateway to Asia.

On his part, DP World CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said Pakistan is a growing market and an important trade corridor to Central Asia.

“We are proud to have contributed to its trading ability through our operations at Qasim International Container Terminal and are honoured to work with various Pakistani government organisations to develop new freight system and with Port Qasim Authority to enhance port connectivity and investment,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2024

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