China build shipping terminal at Karachi port

KARACHI: China build shipping terminal at the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) as part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

According to the source, Hutchison Port Holdings Limited, owned by Hong Kong-based billionaire Li Ka-Shing, is all set to start work on Pakistan’s biggest Shipping Terminal to enhance the capacity and capability of the Karachi port.

With the completion of Pakistan Deep-Water Container Port (PDWCP) Phase I the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) will acquire the capacity to handle the new generation of container ships on its drawing boards, added sources.

After an exhaustive exercise of evaluation of the most competitive bid, M/s Hutchison Port Holdings Limited (HPH) of Hong Kong was awarded the contract and it is the world’s largest container terminal operator that operates 257 berths in 45 ports in 23 countries along with a number of transportation-related service companies.

According to the company’s agreement with the Karachi Port Trust, terminal operations in Pakistan will begin before the end of the year. This investment by a Chinese company is part of the $46 billion investment under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The lease of the terminal will be for an initial period of 25 years extendable for another 25 years, on mutually agreed terms and conditions. M/s. Hutchison Port Holdings Limited (HPH) Hong Kong will be required to develop the site into a full-fledged state of the art Container Terminal capable of receiving and handling Super Post Panamax Container Ships.

Terminal capacity will be 3.1 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) and the Concession Agreement was signed by the company in November 2007. Karachi Port Trust will now be able to dock mega-ships after the completion of one of the biggest shipping terminal projects.

Industrial cooperation: Pakistan expects to sign deal with China this month

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan hoped on Monday to achieve a breakthrough by securing Chinese financing for a crucial project of the western route and sign an agreement on industrial cooperation during a meeting of the highest decision-making body of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

While giving a briefing on the status of CPEC projects, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar reiterated that Pakistan had not offered any special treatment to Saudi Arabia under CPEC.

The minister gave the policy statement during a meeting of the Senate Special Committee on CPEC, chaired by Senator Sherry Rehman at the Parliament House.

Pakistan was trying to sign a framework agreement on industrial cooperation during the upcoming meeting of the CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC), said the minister. The meeting is expected to take place either on December 18 or 21 in Beijing.

Pakistan faces a shrinking industrial base due to the rowing share of the less job-intensive services sector in the national output.

During the meeting, Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan said the implementation agreement for setting up the Rashakai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) would be signed during the eighth JCC meeting. “Work on the Rashakai zone will start soon, while groundbreaking of the Dhabeji SEZ in Sindh may be held in June next year,” he said.

The true potential of CPEC could not be achieved without expanding its scope to industry and agriculture and fast tracking its implementation, commented Bakhtiar. Responding to a question, the minister said there was no possibility of a third-party strategic partnership and Pakistan had not offered CPEC platform for Saudi Arabian investment.

“There should not be any confusion on the issue of third country participation as CPEC remains a bilateral strategic initiative between China and Pakistan,” remarked Bakhtiar. The minister pointed out that both China and Pakistan had unanimously decided that some CPEC projects could be offered to third countries for investment.

“Any investment from Saudi Arabia will be in the category of foreign direct investment (FDI), but Pakistan is not extending any special treatment,” he said and added a Saudi Arabian oil company (Aramco) had shown interest in setting up an oil refinery in Gwadar and so had the United Arab Emirates.

However, confusion remains over the status of the western route of CPEC as senators from Balochistan have different points of view than what the government claims.

“It is not yet clear whether the western route will be funded under CPEC or the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), but the likelihood is that the majority of its part will be funded through CPEC,” Bakhtiar said, adding western route projects remained part of last three meetings of the JCC but no progress was made. “CPEC cannot be a substitute of the PSDP,” said the minister. The Zhob-Dera Ismail Khan project of the western route was being taken up with China for financing and an agreement could be reached during the JCC meeting, emphasised the minister.

During a meeting of the Joint Working Group on Transport last month, Pakistan urged China to finalise implementation mechanism for the upgrade of 210km DI Khan-Zhob road and 110km Khuzdar-Basiam road.

However, China was of the view that only mature and advance projects should be pushed forward.

The DI Khan-Zhob project, which is a very critical component of the western route, faces delay because of mishandling by Pakistani authorities over the past four years.

Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan said work on nearly $20 billion worth of CPEC projects had not yet commenced, adding financing modalities of the $8.2-billion mainline project of Pakistan Railways had not been finalised so far.

Progress on some of the energy projects remained slow after Pakistan managed to bridge the energy deficit, said the secretary.

Highway police to recruit 10,000 personnel under CPEC

The National Highway and Motorway Police will recruit 10,000 personnel under the CPEC to ensure smooth flow of traffic on the highways and motorways, NH&MP DIG Ashfaq Ahmed said Sunday.

We are recruiting 4,000 police officers in the first phase, and other 6,000 more will be recruited in the second phase, the DIG said.

The police official praised his department for providing employment to the women. The women in our force are performing their duties efficiently, he added.

NH&MP has launched an app, Humsafar, with the aim to facilitate people travelling on highways and motorways. The app will help inform the motorists about road condition, traffic blockage alerts, alternative routes and help distressed drivers.

The DIG urged the motorists to follow traffic rules and asked motorcyclists to wear helmets to avoid serious injuries in case of road mishap.