Karachi's New Port Terminal Wins "Container Terminal of the Year" Award

Karachi's SAPT (South Asia Port Terminal) Automatic Container Yard and Housing Project is one of 18 winners of "Year in Infrastructure 2019" awards announced by Bentley Systems.

South Asia Port Terminal, Karachi, Pakistan

The annual awards highlight the work of Bentley software users advancing infrastructure design, construction, and operations throughout the world. 12 independent jury panels of distinguished industry experts selected  the 54 finalists from 571 nominations submitted by more than 440 organizations in more than 60 countries.

Hutchison Ports Pakistan is the country’s first deep-water container terminal, designed to accommodate super post Panamax ships, the largest container ships operating today. It is situated at the Keamari Groyne basin and provides the most convenient access to large vessels entering Karachi.

The new container port recently notched up a new productivity high — claimed to be the best-ever at a Pakistani port — when it handled the 8,562-TEU Hyundai Courage. The terminal handled 2,683 moves in about 13 hours, with berth productivity reaching 203.4 moves per hour and gross crane rates averaging 32.3 moves per hour. While in berth, the vessel loaded and discharged 3,501 TEU. That productivity beats the previous high of 1,953 moves in 11 hours, which the terminal achieved on the Hyundai Global, the company told JOC.com.

The US$1.4 billion container terminal operates as a partnership between Hutchison Ports Pakistan, a member of the Hutchison Ports network, and Karachi Port Trust. Hutchison Ports has invested US$600 million to develop the terminal and install the latest technology, whereas Karachi Port Trust has invested over US$350 million on reclamation work and dredging.

Hutchison Ports Pakistan also works with Pakistan Customs to improve clearance systems and procedures and enable easier and faster cargo clearance for end users. With this high-tech, deep-water facility at Karachi Port, Pakistan has the basis to compete with global peers as a modern trading economy.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on November 24, 2019 at 10:03am

Hutchison Ports to invest additional #240 million despite #Pakistan’s slowing #economy. The company has made no change in its #investment plan for expansion of container #terminal at #Karachi port to increase its capacity up to 3.2 million TEUs by 2022. https://tribune.com.pk/story/2105387/2-hutchison-ports-invests-desp...


Talking about the progress on phase-II of the Hutchison Ports’ terminal with an additional investment of $240 million, he said it would help expand the installed capacity for handling containerised cargo at the terminal located at the Karachi Port. “With this, the total investment in the terminal by Hutchison Ports Pakistan will increase to over $600 million,” he said.

In a bid to improve the deteriorating macroeconomic indicators, the federal government took measures to narrow the twin deficits in first quarter of the current fiscal year 2019-20.

“Declining imports are favourable for the economy, but ports and terminal operators are losing revenue and import cargoes are going down,” said Rashid. “This is even more challenging for us as we have no sovereign guarantee for payments.”

However, he said despite the tough times, Karachi Port had the potential of becoming the transit and transhipment hub in the near future.

“We are very optimistic about the economy of Pakistan and despite the hard times due to decreasing imports, our investment plan in phase-II is very much on track.

“Our total investment in Pakistan will touch $1 billion by the end of this investment cycle,” he added.

He pointed out that civil work in the second phase was ahead of schedule and would be completed in 2021, while additional equipment would be installed by 2022.

“It will be a state-of-the-art terminal, which will use remote-controlled ship-to-shore cranes and semi-automated yard cranes, which were first introduced in the country by Hutchison Ports Pakistan.”

Hutchison Ports is also planning to invest in logistics services both upstream and downstream and for this it is in talks with Pakistan Railways.

The development of phase-II includes three internal railway tracks, which will connect the terminal to the main lines. Movement of cargo through rail will be a public-private partnership with Pakistan Railways.

“We have chalked out our strategy in view of the economic slowdown, as at the time of the decision on raising investment in the terminal, the present situation of economic slowdown was not expected,” Jamil said.

He said cargo volumes at terminals had been constantly declining for the last two years and imports of consumer goods had gone down. Balancing, modernisation and replacement activities in the industries are also slowing down and no major plant and machinery are being imported.

“On the other hand, exports are increasing and imports of industrial raw material have also gone up. We will manage this situation by rescheduling of delay in equipment purchase as this will help us get the latest equipment and technology.”

Pakistan’s first deep-water container terminal is capable of handling the world’s largest vessels. Currently, it has the capacity of handing 1.5 million TEUs annually. The terminal was utilising 50% capacity about a few weeks ago, but currently it is operating at 64% capacity utilisation.

“The terminal was at its peak at 100% capacity utilisation in January 2019 due to a push in CPEC-related consignments.” The terminal operator is looking for a partnership with a consolidated big shipping line. It would most probably be an eastern shipping line to achieve economies of scale and utilise its enhanced capacity after the completion of phase-II.

Compared to other terminals, Hutchison Ports Pakistan is paying almost double charges to the land authority in the form of royalty, which makes it expensive for its customers.

Increasing efficiency is the only way to minimise the cost for which Hutchison Ports is investing in technologies and human resources.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 27, 2021 at 10:23pm

Karachi's ‘China port’ opens again to public

https://www.dawn.com/news/1648615


KARACHI: It was back in 2018 when several Karachiites first discovered this new picnic spot at the South Asia Pakistan Terminal (SAPT). But no sooner did social media along with a few newspapers publish its pictures, the hungry-for-outings public thronged the place, which was closed soon after. Well, it has been reopened recently.

This comparatively bare portion of the beach presents a clear and closer view of the breakwater, Oyster Rocks and the tall port cranes and all the cargo ships entering and leave port.

There is also a freshness about the sea breeze. A father had brought with him his two children on his bike here to enjoy the view. They were happily sipping on their box of juices while digging into a bag of potato crisps as they animatedly pointed towards the ships and the fishermen at work before them. Some children are also bathing in the sea.


“We have been coming here regardless of the barriers and closure for our catch,” says one of the several fishermen busy sorting out their catch for the day. “But it was closed for the general public as there was plenty of activity at SAPT at the time. Now the Chinese workers seem to have left and this place has been reopened again,” he added his observation.

There is all kinds of catch in the pile before them. There is very tiny fish that glitters and shines like small pieces of silver under the bright sun, there are tiny shrimp, which can be used as bait for bigger catch, too, along with different species such as squid. The fishermen are busy separating all the various species from each other and dropping them in baskets.

“Most of the catch from here is used in preparing chicken feed, also for plant fertiliser,” says another fisherman. “But we are going to take it all to the Karachi fisheries to sell.”

Yet another fisherman informed that they arrive at the place before dawn for the catch.

Dawn tried to call the Karachi Port Trust about the reopening of the China port but was informed that their offices won’t be able to respond regarding the matter or for any comments over the weekend.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 6, 2021 at 12:25pm

Pakistan and China unveil ambitious plan to develop Karachi coast

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Belt-and-Road/Pakistan-and-China-...


KARACHI -- In an ambitious turn, Pakistan and China have agreed to develop the Karachi coast, possibly shifting away from Gwadar as the center stage of the Belt and Road project in Pakistan, following ongoing problems at the southwestern province of Balochistan.

A memorandum of understanding was signed for the Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone project during the recently held 10th Joint Cooperation Committee meeting of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, after a gap of almost two years.

Based on details shared by Pakistan, China will invest $3.5 billion, separately confirmed by a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, in the project which includes adding new berths to Karachi port, developing a new fisheries port and a 640-hectare trade zone on the western backwater marshland of the Karachi Port Trust. The project also envisages building a harbor bridge connecting the port with the nearby Manora islands.

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The writing was already on the wall for some. In June, Saudi Arabia decided to shift a proposed $10-billion oil refinery to Karachi from Gwadar. This was a major shock to the government's plans of building an energy hub in Gwadar, which is facing massive protests due to lack of water and power.

Now, Gwadar stands to lose even more foreign investment. Karachi is the largest city and the main commercial hub of Pakistan and also home to the busiest port.

Malik Siraj Akbar, a South Asia analyst based in Washington, believes that Karachi offers not only better infrastructure, but also tighter law and order, making it an ideal hub for CPEC. "The Chinese want CPEC to leave its mark as a symbol of rising Chinese power without particular interests in any specific region in Pakistan," he said.

Krzysztof Iwanek, head of the Asia Research Center at Warsaw's War Studies University, said that the challenges of developing a major port in an underdeveloped area like Gwadar must have been factored in by China from the outset.

"[I]t may be assumed that Chinese involvement in Gwadar may be at least partially strategic. Karachi, in turn, is Pakistan's most important port, and, hence, Chinese involvement there may be of purely economic nature," Iwanek said.



Despite the signing of the agreement and expression of commitment from the Chinese side, analysts fear that implementation will be difficult.

Iwanek believes that Belt and Road projects are under scrutiny in China, as funds are no longer distributed so liberally as loans and there is a focus on more feasible projects. He suggested that it will not be easy for Pakistan to draw investments or loans for this project because China is lending with a greater focus on "pragmatism" now.

Arif Rafiq, president of Vizier Consulting, a New York-based political risk assessment firm, shares that view and said that the project had a long way to go.

"Feasibility studies, including on the environmental impact, need to be conducted. The dredging will destroy existing mangroves, which serve as a vital, natural defense against storms and erosion," he said. He claimed that as many as 500,000 people will have to be resettled, which will be a politically contentious process.

Gwadar's sudden fall from grace has implications for wider Belt and Road enterprises. Analysts said that the way Pakistan and China are dealing with Gwadar implies that any problematic project of Belt and Road, irrespective of its potential, can either be dropped or put on the back burner.

"Pakistan and China had an opportunity to develop [Gwadar] port in a conflict zone but several factors, such as corruption, mismanagement, lack of public support and transparency, have led to a loss of interest in the Gwadar Port," said Malik, as he warned that other problematic Belt and Road projects could face the same fate.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 25, 2022 at 5:57pm

#Freight #train service launched to link #Karachi container terminal with rest of #Pakistan. A 3.7km, high-tech train track laid at the Hutchison Ports Pakistan connecting the facility to the rest of the country. #Railway - DAWN.COM
https://www.dawn.com/news/1671360


Several terminals for freight service planned: Swati
• Says Railways will become profitable within six months

KARACHI: The huge and powerful dark green locomotive attached to a long line of big and small freight containers awaited the inauguration ceremony to be off on its way at the Hutchison Ports Pakistan, also known as the South Asia Pakistan Terminal, on Monday.

Then as soon as the ribbon was cut, it honked loudly while making the slouching guests sit up straight in their chairs as it chugged away on its new ballastless tracks. Expected to take away the traffic congestion caused by container trucks on roads and highways here, this freight train will reach its destination, Lahore, in up to four days.

The freight train service also coincides with the commissioning of a 3.7km, high-tech train track laid at the Hutchison Ports Pakistan connecting the facility to the rest of the country in a seamless manner through Pakistan Railway’s extensive network spread throughout the country.


This new track laid within the terminal comprised three rail sidings of 700 metres each alongside a crippled wagon sliding. The tracks are embedded in concrete and are ballastless, which is a better, albeit a more expensive option than the traditional sleeper/ballast design used in Pakistan. Switching between the tracks and signalling is carried out using a computer-based interlocking system, eliminating the need for manual switching. As many as three freight trains can be handled simultaneously using rubber-tyred gantry cranes with a quick turnaround. Another track can also be added.

Captain Syed Rashid Jamil, general manager and head of business unit at Hutchison Ports Pakistan, said that with the commencement of the freight train service, they were expanding their contribution towards Pakistan’s trade. “We are extending our physical gates to somewhere in Multan, Sialkot and Lahore as the containers will be discharged from the ships and put on a train that will deliver them to the customers at their factory gates,” he said.

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“Karachi needs to be an international standard business hub. Pakistan’s entire business, its industry, its trade all come from here. It only needs good governance to transform this city and this country,” he said.

The federal minister announced they needed to work at connecting Port Qasim Authority with this freight train service too. “We should also be transporting coal and oil via railway,” he said.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail said port cities across the world were responsible for their country’s prosperity and Karachi was a port city.

Earlier, Pakistan had its flag-carrier PIA, Railways and Pakistan Steel Mills to be proud of, the governor said, “but now PIA is running losses, the Pakistan Railways is running losses and the Steel Mills happen to be a burden on the exchequer. It is so because our country fell in the wrong hands”.

“But now we have people like Railways Minister Swati and Minister for Maritime Affairs like Ali Zaidi, who are powerful pillars. They are doers. [PM] Imran Khan has chosen the best people in his cabinet. We were labelled as incompetent in our first year of governance but we kept working with the uplift of economy as our main focus despite the Covid-19 pandemic and now Imran Khan is the first prime minister in years to have completed the longest term in office,” he said.

PSO, Railways ink MoU
In a related development, Pakistan State Oil (PSO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pakistan Railways for the supply of POL products, transportation and other businesses.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 18, 2023 at 1:35pm

From #Karachi with love: exploring #Pakistan’s annual #flower show run by Pak #Horticulture Society at Karachi Boat Club: Big-headed yellow marigolds; purple & white stocks & annual carnations displayed with a distinctive style.
https://www.ft.com/content/862f41d1-1b47-4e17-91b8-54fbaaceb427



I have just been exploring links forged by flowers in dry south Pakistan. I was there on separate business, my life-long object of study, Alexander the Great. In 326-325BC he conquered his way down the Indus river valley, but he never planted a garden. He banned a curved fruit that was new to the Greeks and was thought to be upsetting his soldiers’ stomachs. It was probably a banana. Obedient to Alexander I never eat bananas.



Between lectures on his legend and localised study of his campaign, I have explored aspects of their setting, all new to me, and noticed how joined-up gardening links us to Pakistan. I was set on my path by a tree.

In the exclusive Karachi Boat Club, a fine old tree surveys the lawn, beautifully groomed for the members’ benefit. On its trunk a notice proclaims: “I have closely witnessed the evolutions of the upper middle classes of this metropolis for more than a century.”

If trees could talk, what would the plane trees in Berkeley Square be telling us about changes in London’s high society?



“Music and the playing of military bands,” the tree’s notice continues, “reminds me of the RAJ ERA when such parties were most prominent.” The tree is a bodhi tree, like the one under which the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment.



Seeking sociological enlightenment, I looked at the gardening round the club’s lawn. Postcolonial petunias; big-headed yellow marigolds; purple and white stocks and annual carnations were displayed with a distinctive style: single plants of each had been planted in a painted clay pot, and then the pots were massed by the dozen to make lines and curves.

In the paved courtyard of the Gymkhana club in Hyderabad, plants in individual pots are banked up into a circular centrepiece which is a blaze of colour. I watched while the club’s gardeners took each pot to a tap in order to water it. At home I sometimes plant a spare petunia in a single pot, but it never reaches such a diameter. I need to give it some Pakistani care.

Admiring these bright variations on mere flowerbeds, I widened my social survey. I went to a popular gathering, the Pakistan Annual Flower Show, run by the Horticulture Society of Pakistan. As it began in the first spring of Pakistan’s existence, this year is its 75th anniversary. For three days, visitors flocked to Seaview and the AK Khan park, which commemorates Abdul Karim Khan, a founding genius of the show in 1948.

What a delight to see plants in profusion, packing individual nurseries’ tents and spilling out on to the grass while a military band played favourite Pakistani tunes. The show occupies a space that measures up to the Royal Hospital site of London’s Chelsea Show and the crowds are as dense as on any of Chelsea’s days. So much is on sale throughout, from excellent foliage plants to roses, including a superb flat-petalled crimson and a prizewinning red with white streaks called Double Delight.

Nurseries have joyful banners on their tents: “we do rockeries and manures” or “we are the Blossoming Nursery for rented plants”. Orange awnings brighten the scene, lit with those mainstays of Pakistani staging, lines of bare lightbulbs.

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Much of the audience was middle class: how have flowers’ uses evolved elsewhere in society? Outside Karachi I was securely escorted to a great evening occasion, a Friday celebration at the famous shrine in the westerly town of Sehwan. It is the resting place of the 13th-century Sufi saint, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, and is a place of pilgrimage from far and wide.

Inside, red-robed dancers twirled to the beat of hand drums before thousands of packed spectators, entranced by the music and the rhythms, boys and men in the front, girls and women in the side chapels.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 21, 2023 at 4:02pm

AD Ports Group inks MoU to develop Karachi Port

https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/ports/ad-ports-group-inks-mou-dev...


Abu Dhabi’s AD Ports Group has reached an agreement with Pakistan to develop and enhance port projects in the country, after a senior UAE delegation visited Karachi.
Peter Shaw-Smith | May 19, 2023


“The UAE aims to foster economic growth in Pakistan by signing an MoU with the Karachi Port Trust (KPT),” AD Ports Group said. “The MoU paves the way for enhancing bilateral cooperation and increasing efforts in the development, expansion, and digitalisation of port projects within Pakistan.”

AD Ports Group said the collaboration encompasses a wide range of initiatives and projects aimed at enhancing port infrastructure, optimising operational efficiencies, and embracing digitalisation. The group will leverage its technical expertise to conduct feasibility studies and analysis, to ensure commercial success of the project.

Related: AD Ports Group expands dry bulk fleet, moves into tankers

“We aim to leverage our group’s extensive experience and capabilities to transform Karachi Port’s Container Terminal into a premier hub for transshipment as well as imported and exported cargo,” said Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO and Managing Director of AD Ports Group.

“In line with [the UAE’s] economic diversification, we anticipate that this collaboration will propel Karachi Port towards becoming a global hub of global trade and reinforce its significance as a key player in the trade and maritime industries, further stimulating economic prosperity in the region.”


"This partnership with AD Ports Group is a significant milestone for Karachi Port Trust. By combining our strengths and expertise, we are poised to unlock unprecedented growth opportunities for our port and the wider trade community,” said Syed Syedain Raza Zaidi, Chairman Karachi Port Trust.


“Together, we will work towards transforming Karachi Port into a world-class maritime hub that can effectively meet the demands of the evolving global trade landscape."

AD Ports Group’s move into Pakistan is not the UAE’s first foray into Pakistan. DP World has been operating Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) for several years.

“The Muhammad Bin Qasim Port Project is the one of the largest port privatisation projects in Pakistan and is a testament to the Government’s commitment to providing the international trade community with a world class port facility supported by the latest technologies and second to none efficiency,” it said.

Qasim International Container Terminal started operations in 1997. “Today the capacity of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 is 1.38m teu. Over the last 25 years of operations the terminal has grown and now handles more than 650 vessels annually,” DP World said.

Hutchison Ports also operates in the Port of Karachi.

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