INTRODUCTION OF CNG BUSES IN PAKISTAN- TOWARD NATIONAL PROSPERITY
MOHAMMAD IRFAN SHAIKH,
Director Sales & Marketing, Hinopak Motors Limited
Sep 14 - 20, 2009
In order to address the basic requirement of providing decent, safe and, economical intra city passenger moment, the City District Government Karachi envisages introduction of fuel efficient, environmentally friendly large new CNG buses. This pilot project of induction of first few CNG buses in the Karachi transport system is one such step which will augurs well for the citizens of Karachi. It will provide impetus for the future induction of both new CNG and Diesel buses in Karachi and also in other cities of Pakistan.
As per the required delivery time from CDGK, Hinopak Motors Limited successfully delivered Hino CNG buses to City District Government Karachi on June 29, 2009. The deadline for delivery of these buses was very short but Hinopak as usual took the challenge and delivered the CNG buses within the delivery time, while the other CNG bus manufacturer could not supply the buses in time and resulted to postpone the launch of these buses.
Hinopak has the largest product support network in Pakistan and the genuine parts availability is easier than any other local manufacturer of commercial vehicles. Hinopak appreciate such courageous step of City Nazim Karachi, Syed Mustafa Kamal to trust on the local manufacturers. The introduction of locally assembled CNG buses has manifold advantages for the country as it will not only encourage the local vendors to participate more aggressively in localization components of CNG buses and facilitate more investment in this area but also the increase of employment in the sector.
By importing the CBU CNG Buses from other countries there would be no net saving as foreseen for CNG technology because the CBU import cost will be very high and it may overrule the cost reduction on the reduced imports of HSD. Hence we will loose on the foreign exchange.
It is very important that the CNG buses plying in Urban Transport system needs very strong back-up support to ensure round the clock operation. Timely supply of spares part and vehicle fixing in no time is name of the game. Local commercial vehicle manufacturers have ample strength to cope with such urgent requirement. Furthermore the maintenance staff including road side mechanic are well aware of the technologies of local assembled buses and as such is great sources of strength to ensure vehicles maintenance in no time with less expense. While back up support network of CBU CNG buses is non existence and thus will have the same fate as we had witnessed CBU CNG buses few years back in Karachi.
One of the recent example is Chinese make Yunma CNG buses which started its operation in Lahore, as per the press release of Daily Jang newspaper, Lahore Edition dated 30 June, 2009 these buses could not start of its operation with total 53 buses, some of these buses in its initial stages not worked properly and faced technical problems. Though these imported buses are low in cost but not up to the Pakistani road conditions and at the same time no proper maintenance network is available.
Commuters of Karachi are enjoying the operation of recently inducted CNG buses by CDGK. Hinopak assure that these buses will be operated without any hassle in operation because of the technical expertise and strong backup support of Hinopak.
During 2008, Pakistani rupee showed a severe depreciation against major currencies, especially US dollar and Yen that appreciated by 28% and 58% respectively, adversely affecting the auto sector. The unexpected appreciation of yen resulted into rising cost of production for the auto assemblers in the country. However, increase in selling prices was not sufficient to cover the hiked cost of production.
Though the price of Hino vehicles have increased 35 to 40 percent but Hinopak managed to provide CNG buses to CDGK at old price as it has the availability of the CKD at old exchange rate i.e. Rs. 0.49 to 0.50 against 1 yen. Since the last year Yen has reached to Rs. 0.87 on average and affected the cost of CKD import for the Hino vehicles. Thus impact of 35 to 40 percent increase of the cost will have all the impact of the exchange rate on new orders.
As per recent news the tenure of CDGK government will be end and new administrator will take charge, we hope that new administrative body will also prioritize the UTS project and will continue to trust on local manufacturers for the supply of CNG Buses.
As a recent Press Conference held by Syed Mustafa Kamal, City Nazim Karachi, Federal Government has formally approved Rs. 2.5 billion for the CNG bus project and provide a subsidy of Rs. 300 million for 1600 environment friendly vehicles to be run on the city roads this year.
Federal Finance Minister Mr. Shaukat Tareen himself visited Karachi to observe the CNG bus Pilot project and appreciated the efforts of Syed Mustafa Kamal. Sindh Governor Dr. Ishratul Ibad Khan and City Nazim Mustafa Kamal briefed him on the project. Minister also issued his directives to release funds for the 1600 CNG buses for the Karachi city.
It is also very pleased to know that Federal and Provincial Governments are also taking steps for introduction of Public Transport in Pakistan. Recently Federal Minister for Investment Mr. Waqar Ahmed Khan mentioned to media that Argentinean government is interesting to bring 800 new CNG buses to Pakistan.
Federal Environment Minister Hamidullah Jan Afridi has also announced that 8,000 CNG buses will be introduced in nine cities of Pakistan with Rs 0.7 million subsidy for each of them in order to improve the present environmental condition.
Sindh Transport Minister, Mr. Akhtar Jadoon announced that 4000 CNG buses would be provided to Sindh Government under a public private partnership program. These buses would be subsidized 25% by the Sindh Government.
Hinopak being the largest manufacturer of trucks and buses in Pakistan is committed to national cause of sustainable development and prosperity and Hino AK1J CNG Buses is one such step which will improve our existing engineering base and will provide a much need respite to the people of Pakistan by providing elegant looking, economical and environmentally friendly buses.
In the end, Hinopak congratulate City District Government Karachi for taking the initiative and started the first ever operation of locally assembled Dedicated CNG buses in Karachi.