Pakistan’s biggest port set to begin trial run

Islamabad [Pakistan], Oct.12 : Pakistan's biggest port, Pakistan Deep Water Container Port which is strategically located at the eastern side of the Karachi port will commence its test operation in the first week of next month after a delay of about six years.

The initiative of expediting the process of completion of the port was taken by terminal operator South Asia Pakistan Terminals (SAPT) which has already suffered long delays, reports the Dawn.

The operator is planning to bring in smaller vessels with a loaded capacity of 4,000 to 5,000 TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit) against mother ships which can load between 14,000 and 18,000 TEUs as the draft of the approach channel of the port is not as per the required depth.

While highlighting the main objective of the test operations, a spokesman for the terminal operator said that it was to remove teething problems which were normally faced in such mega projects, adding that the test runs would be judged as per the checklist and manual provided by the parent company, Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) of Hong Kong.

Adding that the test operations would be simulated as per the big ship for which the port had been developed, he said that this would provide the operator SAPT an opportunity to check flaws if any.

The work on the PDWCP was started in 2007 and the port was scheduled to begin its operations by the middle of 2011.

Karachi Port Trust (KPT) had conceived this project under a landlord concept with designed draft of 18 metres and operational draft of 16 metres.

Currently, the PDWCP is facing two major issues which had caused the delay - dredging of the approach channel and the port's connectivity for the movement of cargo in and out of the terminal.

But according to the spokesman, the most serious issue was that as per the agreement the cess of the Karachi Dock Labour Board was not to be applied on the PDWCP, but now it was being imposed at a rate of Rs1,300 per TEU.

Source: ANI