PORT & SHIPPING ACTIVITY GEARING UP, SAYS MINISTER

"Ports and shipping sector is moving towards the success story of Pakistan's economy and new developments are in the offing."

AMANULLAH BASHAR
May 28 - Jun 03, 2007

Federal Minister for Ports & Shipping Babar Ghauri, while spelling out the performance of ports and shipping sector during last five years, has said that this sector has been steered out of the lethargic performance to an emerging contributor to the country's economy.

Accompanied by Tauqir Hussain Naqvi, Chairman PNSC and Vice Admiral M. Asad Qureshi, Chairman Port Qasim besides other senior officials, the minister described the exciting developments at Gwadar port and Port Qasim as an achievement, "which is fascinating global players to make massive investments in the ports and shipping sector". The present government has put this industry on the path glory in the real sense, which was never thought during last 24 years, he remarked while addressing a crowded press conference at the Karachi Press Club.

He said that the development of Gwadar port is of course a feat achieved by the present government and it is about to start generating revenues through its operations. The benefits of this port will bring prosperity to the province of Balochistan as well as the entire country, the minister said in a firm tone.

Outlining the achievements by his ministry, Ghauri said that during last 24 years, the past governments could develop only three terminals, while the present government on the back of its focus on economic growth has developed nine new terminals, which is a record and a significant contribution to the national economy.

President Pervez Musharraf inaugurated the second phase of LPG terminal at Port Qasim. This LPG terminal, which is a joint venture between Malaysia, Pakistan, Kuwait and NLC, has been developed at a cost of $50 million. This would help in raising the turnover of LPG to the tune of 20 million tons a year in the country.

Another major achievement in the energy sector of the country is the floating LNG terminal at Port Qasim being set up at a cost of $162 million, he added. Babar said this floating terminal would be the second in the world as the first is already in operation in UK.

Replying to a question, he said that owing to favourable government policies the private sector is mustering its confidence, which is reflected in the registration of three bulk vessels under Pakistan flag by the private sector. Similarly, the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC), which had almost reached to the level of bankruptcy when the present government assumed power, has remarkably bounced back and now it is running in profit, besides retiring its heavy liabilities. He said that PNSC was also about to enhance its fleet by inducting two tankers and a bulk cargo carrier into its fleet.

He said that ports and shipping sector is moving towards the success story of Pakistan economy and new developments are in the offing.

To a question about development of port at Sonmiani beach and the resolution passed against it by Balochistan Assembly, Babar Ghauri said that actually the federal government develops ports on the request of the provincial government concerned. It was the government of Balochistan, which had suggested for developing port at Sonmiani beach, adding: "we would go by the wishes and desire of the provincial government". He also referred to the proposal of KT Bunder which, he pointed, was suggested by the Sindh government. He expressed the confidence that this port project would materialize as we are seriously proceeding as per development plans.

Regretting the trend of calling strikes on every issue whether it is related to Karachi or is proving counter productive to the economic achievements, he said: "We have to avoid such attitude in the larger interest of the country". He said the wheel of industry and economic activities should keep moving because it is in the interest of every Pakistani.

PNSC'S PERFORMANCE DURING 2002-2006

Outlining the achievement of Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) during the tenure of the present government, the minister said that during 2002-03 PNSC came out from troubled waters to smooth sailing. The following achievements speak in volumes about how a sinking organization was turned into a growing concern:

ACHIEVEMENTS 2002-03:

a) Acquisition of three oil tankers by PNSC through its own resources and there was no government funding or guarantee involved.

b) Dividend paid after 10 years at the rate of 7.5% (last dividend was paid in 1992).

c) Repayment of NBP's Bahrain Loan (US$ 4.285 million) as installment and US$ 5 million pre-payment. Loan was obtained in April 1995 to purchase three used container vessels.

d). Pay raise for employees

- Ashore/Afloat w.e.f. 1st July 2002
- Afloat crew w.e.f. 18 April 2003

ACHIEVEMENTS 2003-04:

a) Acquisition of 4th oil tanker.
b) Dividend paid - 10% + 5% bonus shares.

c) Repayment of NBP Bahrain loan (US$ 4.285 million) as installment and US$5 million pre-payment. Loan was obtained in 1995 to purchase three used container vessels.

d) Regular six monthly interest payment of NBP loan.
e) Bonus to employees (last paid in 1976).
f) Salary increase of employees

3. ACHIEVEMENTS 2004-05:

a) Acquisition of bulk carrier
b) Dividend paid - 20% + 10% bonus shares

c) Repayment of NBP Bahrain loan US$ 4.285 million as installment and US$5.0 million pre-payment. Loan was obtained in 1995 to purchase three used container vessels.

d) Regular six monthly interest payment of NBP loan.
e) Two bonuses to employees.
f) Salary increase of employees.

4. ACHIEVEMENTS 2005-06:

a) Dividend paid 10%

b) Repayment of NBP Bahrain loan US$ 4.285 million as installment and US$5.0 million pre-payment. Loan was obtained in 1995 to purchase three used container vessels.

c) Regular six monthly interest payment of NBP loan.
d) Bonus to employees.
e) Salary increase for employees.

5. FUTURE DEVELOPMENT PLAN:

PNSC is in the process of acquiring two double hull Aframax tankers and one Panamax bulk carrier vessel. In this regard a loan agreement is being signed with ABM AMRO bank for -US$ 135 million facility without any government guarantee. The said agreement will be signed on 29th May 2007.

6. PNSC's Corporate Strategies

The Corporation having achieved a solid financial standing is now seeking to sustain its growth on both short and long term basis.