Terminal has the capacity to receive mother ships
Interview with Capt. Rashid Jamil – CEO, South Asia Pakistan Terminals Limited (SAPT)
Capt. Rashid Jamil is the Chief Executive Officer of South Asia Pakistan Terminals Limited (SAPT), a member of the Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) Group, since April 2015. He joined the HPH group in 1997 as the Terminal Manager of Karachi International Container Terminal (KICT), the first project of the group in Karachi. After gaining vast experience of KICT’s operations, working on this position for 9 years, he became the Chief Operating Officer of the terminal. He was then transferred to Oman as deputy CEO and COO of Oman International Container Terminal (OICT) in 2013. Finally he became part of the SAPT project as the Project Director in 2015 and then the CEO. Capt. Rashid Jamil started his professional career in 1986 as Port Captain of Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC). He then worked as Pakistan Sales Manager at Sea Land Pakistan Agencies in 1994. He holds a degree in Nautical Pre-Sea from the Marine Academy of Pakistan. He is known as an extraordinal professional amongst his peer group.
The Chinese authorities, in principle, have approved the inclusion of three important projects of Sindh in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).The projects include Karachi Circular Railways (KCR), Keti Bandar and Special Economic Zone in Dhabeji. However, there is yet another project of South Asia Pakistan Terminals (SAPT) having capacity to receive mother ships of 19,000 TUEs likely to be included in CPEC.
Capt. Rashid Jamil, Chief Executive Officer, South Asia Pakistan Terminals Limited (SAPT) while highlighting significance of the terminal said in an interview that the terminal will specially facilitate importers and exporters of the Central Asian landlocked countries to use SAPT, as discussed, the location of the terminal is ideal and provide a clearer route to the Central Asian countries compared to any other nearby ports.
PAGE: HOW HAS THE GLOBAL SHIPPING INDUSTRY TRANSFORMED OVER THE YEARS?
CAPT. RASHID JAMIL: The constantly rising global demand for consumer goods has amplified the need for trade between borders like never before.
Today, the sum of exports and imports across the globe is over 50 percent of the total global production, which has in turn created a greater need for the shipping industry to ensure effective means of transporting goods across the globe.
The shipping industry handles a majority of the world’s imports and exports and has evolved dramatically in the recent past. With the combination of efficiency and cost reduction, growth has come in the form of gigantic vessels that carry massive quantities of containers as compared to feeder vessels that only catered to a smaller quantity of cargo with a relatively higher cost. The aforesaid large vessels altered the nature of sea borne trade and terminals quickly adapted themselves to berth these mother vessels.
PAGE: WHY WAS THERE THE NEED FOR A DEEP WATER CONTAINER PORT IN PAKISTAN?
CAPT. RASHID JAMIL: Pakistan is an economy with a growing trade and consumer market implying an immense potential for increasing local and global trade. It is primarily the reason that a container terminal capable of berthing the mother vessels be equipped and functional in Pakistan.
South Asia Pakistan Terminals (SAPT) is the first Container Terminal designed to accommodate the largest vessels afloat, today. Currently, the ports across Pakistan can accommodate vessels carrying up to 8,000 TEUs of containers. With the operations of SAPT, mother vessels carrying up to 19,000 TEUs will be able to berth at the port of Karachi due to its depth of 16 meters compared to the current depth of up to 13 meters at Karachi and Bin Qasim Ports. This will not only lead to efficiency in time and cost, but also play a vital role in unlocking Pakistan’s trade potential through revolutionizing sea trade for Pakistan.
PAGE: WHAT IS THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE SECTOR IN THE UPCOMING TERMINAL AND WHAT IS BY FAR THE TOTAL INVESTMENT IN SAPT?
CAPT. RASHID JAMIL: This project is a public-private partnership with Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH), the world’s leading port operators.
HPH is responsible for building and equipping the terminal and for its operations. KPT has reclaimed land area for the terminal through dredging and reclamation and is also responsible for the navigation channel and for building the quay wall and breakwater.
KPT has invested approximately US$800 million in the project while HPH’s investment shall be over US$600 million upon the completion of construction. This terminal is already one of the most technologically advanced in the region with remote control crane operations and highly automated services including examination facility planned to be equipped with automated gates with identity cards, CCTV systems, power efficient illumination and fully automated operations unlike seen before in Pakistan.
PAGE: WOULD YOU EXPLAIN THE EXTERNAL INFRASTRUCTURAL CHALLENGES CONFRONTED TO THE TERMINAL?
CAPT. RASHID JAMIL: While the internal infrastructure of SAPT is ideal and almost set for operations, the external road and rail links are still necessary for effective port operations. Our vision when we started out with this project was to develop the terminal internally while simultaneously improving on the external infrastructure and bringing it at par with the international standards. Only then will the full potential of the terminal be realized and Pakistan can truly benefit from the Port City.
The idea initially was to build a cross harbor bridge and an elevated expressway to Northern Bypass to ensure smooth transportation of the cargo from the terminal and beyond but there has been no further action on this so far. The terminal is currently functional with the existing roads however, with the increase in business and trade volume it will become a challenge to accommodate containers without the road and rail links that were initially agreed upon.
PAGE: HOW CRUCIAL IS ESTABLISHING RAIL OPERATIONS FOR SAPT?
CAPT. RASHID JAMIL: Besides road transport, railways are taking the front on cargo deliverance, being far more time and cost effective. Although a railway network was to be set up for the terminal under the contract signed by HPH and KPT, little has been done to implement the vision.
The most rapidly growing and improving means of transportation in Pakistan is rail. Cargo which would previously take over three days to deliver to Lahore can now reach the other side of the country in 12 hours with rail. Needless to say this improvement is ideal for efficiency in terms of time and cost and hence important for port operations not only for the local markets but also for connecting to the neighboring overseas markets.
PAGE: WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE GOVERNMENT’S ROLE IN PROMOTING THE SHIPPING INDUSTRY OF PAKISTAN GLOBALLY?
CAPT. RASHID JAMIL: An important factor for materializing the sea trade potential of Pakistan is for the authorities to play their role in promoting Pakistan’s port and sea trade locally and on the global front.
The Deep Water Container Terminal is equipped to accommodate the biggest vessels, but the vessels will only berth the port of Karachi when the trade volume equals the capacity of these vessels. Increasing the trade volume is essential to the growth of sea trade and the smallest of factors that are currently overlooked can make a difference.
Our sailors were considered the best in the world, with outstanding training and capacity building. This is not the case anymore and a major challenge in sea trade for Pakistan is the security and training concerns for seafarers.
It is important for the government to systematically organize the industry with investment in training sailors and seafarers to ensure a positive image of Pakistan establish in the global arena and to promote Karachi Port as the ideal location for trade within the neighboring South Asian countries.
PAGE: YOUR COMMENTS ON PAKISTAN’S TRADE AND TAXATION POLICIES TO ESTABLISH KARACHI PORT AS A HUB FOR TRANSSHIPMENT?
CAPT. RASHID JAMIL: It is vital to assess the taxation and policies on ports and shipping industry and providing incentives and taxation support to encourage trade through Karachi Port.
Currently, Karachi Port is charging one of the highest port dues across the region, which affects trade. What we need is more business oriented tariff schemes to encourage transshipment through our port.
The business to Central Asian landlocked countries is currently lost because of the high port dues despite SAPT being the most ideal location for trade and transshipment to these nations. To maximize efficiency of the huge investment in the upcoming terminal, it is important to ensure that the port truly serves as “The terminal for South Asia through efficient trade and taxation policies.”