KARACHI: The Gwadar Shipping and Clearing Agents Association has urged the government to continue with the policy of calling of ships with public sector bulk cargo, particularly urea imports, at Gwadar port.
Association’s president Abdul Rahim Zafar, briefing newsmen at the Karachi Press Club here on Tuesday, appealed to the Economic Coordination Committee not to divert urea import to Karachi ports.
He explained that import of 722,000 tons of urea through Gwadar port generated economic activity in the area and local people benefited a lot because such a huge quantity of bulk cargo demanded all sorts of logistic support, including long and heavy vehicles, trucks for movement of cargo within port area and dock labour.
It was only due to rapid operation and handling of urea at Gwadar Port in a record period of 40 days that it helped government ensure timely supply of fertiliser to growers across the country to meet Rabi crop demand.
The deep draft of the Gwadar port, Abdul Rahim Zafar said also helped government meet economies of scale because larger vessels with a capacity of up to 50,000 tons were given berths.
He said presently Gwadar port is the only port of the country which has a draft of 12.5 metres whereas Karachi port has a maximum draft size of 11.6 metres. If the ECC decision of diverting urea import to Karachi port materialises, it would deprive Balochistan of its right.
The ECC decision, Mr Zafar said would incur extra costs on imports of urea through Karachi port because with a draft of 11.6 metres, ships with capacity of 35,000 tons could call and that will result in higher freight cost to the national exchequer.
Against this, larger vessels calling at Gwadar port with bigger load and shorter time-frame saves millions of rupees to the nation, he maintained.
He believed that by continuing urea imports and other bulk cargo of public sector from Gwadar port would help provide jobs to locals in Balochistan and generate development activity.