Maritime Affairs Minister Faisal Sabzwari revealed that a comprehensive agreement to secure a noteworthy investment of $500 million from Gulf countries is currently in the final stages of preparation. To facilitate this endeavor, an intergovernmental agreement policy will be presented to the law ministry on Monday.
Its potential approval will lay the groundwork for direct foreign investment, in accordance with the conditions outlined by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
During an address to members of the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI), Minister Sabzwari informed them that Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are collaboratively operating under a government-to-government (G2G) agreement. This partnership is focused on three key projects, including the establishment of bulk terminals.
As outlined in a press release by KATI, Mr Sabzwari revealed plans to develop industrial parks spanning 1,250 acres within Port Qasim. These parks will provide a range of facilities designed to attract foreign investors.
Mr Sabzwari acknowledged that there have been no tariff increases at the port, although the implementation of digitalization is still pending. Additionally, limitations on leases have been imposed. He added that terminal charges have recently been adjusted from 60 cents to 80 cents, resulting in a modest 1.5 per cent increase in production costs for industrialists.
Furthermore, the minister highlighted the successful consultations conducted with various stakeholders, including container operators, to mitigate demurrage charges and penalties at the port. As a result, Karachi Port has eradicated all penalties associated with these charges.
According to Dawn, the minister also announced the acquisition of a maritime vessel for transporting edible oil, thus expanding the fleet at Karachi port. In addition to this development, approval has been granted for the construction of a beach wall at Karachi Fish Harbour, aimed at promoting tourism and recreational activities. Furthermore, plans have been set in motion to establish a laboratory dedicated to marine fisheries.
Previously, KATI President Faraz-ur-Rehman stressed the importance of regulating shipping companies and proposed the implementation of a system for demurrage charges and penalties based on the value of containers. He suggested that this system should be made accessible online, similar to the shipping booking system WeBoC.
Zubair Chayya, Deputy Patron-in-Chief of KATI, expressed that Pakistan, with its extensive 1,400-kilometre-long coastline and abundant marine resources, including highly sought-after fish species, should prioritize utilizing the coastal region for tourism, thereby reaping substantial economic benefits.