KARACHI: The business community’s outburst over a three-fold increase in container terminal charges has compelled the Karachi Gateway Terminal Limited (KGTL) to offer to constitute a high-level committee with FPCCI nominees to look into the grievances and complaints of traders from the apex platform.

“The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry is the right place to engage with the trading community,” KGTL Chief Executive Officer Khurram Aziz Khan said while addressing the FPCCI members at the Federation House.

Highlighting the KGTL’s expansion plans for infrastructure development of the container terminal, he said: “We are going to spend $75 million over the next two years alone and another $100m in five years to bring world-class, cutting-edge and efficient infrastructure, machinery and technologies to Karachi Port.”

The KGTL has signed an agreement with the Karachi Port Trust (KPT), which comes under the maritime affairs ministry and, therefore, the KGTL works under the legal jurisdiction of Pakistan, Mr Khurram said.

FPCCI Senior Vice President Saquib Fayyaz Magoon apprised CEO Khurram that the business community is in a state of shock and disbelief at the three-fold increase in container terminal charges since the KGTL has taken over the management of container terminal at Karachi Port’s East Wharf.

The charges were raised to Rs480 from Rs150 per tonne.

Mr Magoon urged the KGTL CEO to immediately rationalise the charges and said any future increase should be announced two to three months in advance. Additionally, the KGTL should not operate in a vacuum in a consultation-less manner, he insisted.

He stressed that shipping lines and container terminals need to be brought under a strong and effective regulatory authority to put an end to exploitation of importers and exporters at their hands.

FPCCI Vice President Asif Sakhi maintained that apex chamber is keeping all options and forums at its disposal to resolve traders’ issues and more than willing to facilitate talks between the KGTL and the business community.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2024

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