Karachi's major port more than doubles capacity, despite 2018 slowdown
HONG KONG's Hutchison Ports Pakistan, holds 90 per cent in the country's only deep-water port capable of berthing the world's biggest containerships, is expanding, reports Karachi's Express Tribune
HONG KONG's Hutchison Ports Pakistan, holds 90 per cent in the country's only deep-water port capable of berthing the world's biggest containerships, is expanding, reports Karachi's Express Tribune.
'The US$1.4 billion expansion will enhance the installed capacity to handle 3.4 million TEU by the end of 2020 compared to 1.5 million TEU at present,' said Hutchison Ports Pakistan general manager Syed Rashid Jamil.
A four-track 4.5 kilometre railway inside the facility has been coupled with an increase in power production also part of the second phase expansion.
The deep-water port is located at the Karachi Port Trust (KPT). Total cost of the project will be, which includes KPT's share of $800 million and Hutchison Ports Pakistan's (HPP) contribution of $600 million.
So far, Hutchison has spent $450-500 million on the project at the Karachi Port Trust (KPT). Estimates suggest that it will spend $750-800 million by the time the second phase is completed.
Hutchison has opted to expand the facility despite the flat growth rate of cross-border containerised cargo remaining at 3.4 million TEU in 2018 and declining five per cent from January to April year to year .
'We are expanding containerised cargo handling capacity as per our original plans of 2007 when we signed and initiated the project on a build, maintain and transfer basis,' said Captain Jamil.
The port is capable of berthing the world's largest container vessel of 25,000 TEU as it has a depth of 18 metres at the outer approach channel and 16.5 metres on the berth side. So far, its biggest ship was the 11,923-TEU China India Express in December. Until then, Pakistan was unable to handle anything more than 8,000 TEU.
The slowdown in the cross-border trade this year was blamed on a government mandate to include details of ingredients, halal certificates and sell-by dates in packaging.
The deep-water port has a 28-megawatts (MW) diesel-based captive power plant. It would increase the power production capacity by 8MW in the second phase.
China, the single largest trading partner of Pakistan, has remained the biggest source of containerised cargo transportation at the deep-water port.