PORTS & SHIPPING

S.KAMAL HAYDER KAZMI,
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Research Analyst
, PAGE
May 21 - 27, 2012

The ports and shipping sector in Pakistan probably is one of the most vibrant sectors of the economy and has the potential to contribute more with the growth of the economy. The mechanized handling of port operations significantly helped in reducing port congestion.

The robust industrial growth taking place in the periphery of Port Qasim can be rightly taken as an indicator of tremendous port activity to come, going forward.

Shipping is a global industry that includes ports. Unfortunately, it is one of the sectors in Pakistan that has not been well-planned and not taken advantage of, largely on account of short-sighted government policies more than anything else. It is a sector that can lead to great synergies in exploring the potential of the country's geographical location.

GWADAR PORT

Gwadar port is a developing warm-water, deep-sea port situated at Gwadar in Balochistan province of Pakistan. It is on the shortest route to the oil rich Central Asian states through land-locked Afghanistan. Gwadar Port is managed by the Gwadar Port Authority. The development work started in March 2002 and its first phase was completed on March 2005. Phase I covered building of three multipurpose berths and related port infrastructure and port handling equipment. In 2007, the government of Pakistan handed over port operations to PSA International for 25 years, and gave it the status of a tax free port for the following 40 years.

Gwadar Port became operational in 2008 with the first ship to dock bringing 72.000 tonnes of wheat from Canada by the vessel M.V POS GLORY which was handled by Gurab Lines Shipping Gwadar. Since then, a total of approximately 120 ships have been handled up to31st January 2011 at Gwadar Port carrying total cargo of 2,286,781 M.Tons.

To remove the deprivation of Balochistan and make the Gwadar Port completely operational, the National Highway Authority (NHA) has demanded Rs8.001 billion for completion of Gwadar Port connectivity for the year 2012-13.

KPT

Karachi Port Trust (KPT) handles 70 per cent of Pakistan's import and export trade. As such, its performance impacts manifold aspects of nation's activities. Karachi Port with regard to security has taken a giant leap forward in the area of technology and sophistication. KPT is fully alive to the global security environments and is proactively poised to meet future formidable security challenges. KPT provides secure environment in which trade be conducted with high assurance and equilibrium of security and safety versus efficiency. KPT after having evaluated the global security environments has embarked upon revolutionizing security on the port introducing state of art security infrastructure as per requirements of IMO and implementation of ISPS code in real spirit. It has established an annual cargo handling record of over 41.4 million tons during July-March 2010-11, indicating an increase of 6.9 per cent over last year. There has also been remarkable increase in all types of cargo handling including bulk, break bulk, and containers.

PNSC

Pakistan national shipping corporation (PNSC) is an autonomous corporation, which functions under the overall control of the ministry of ports and shipping, government of Pakistan. PNSC transports all type of cargoes on several geographical routes covering almost entire world. Furthermore, the consolidated revenues of Pakistan national shipping corporation group for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 were Rs2,552 million (including Rs1,043 million from PNSC), making a total of Rs6,772 million (including Rs1,805 million from PNSC) for the nine months under review as against Rs5,583 million for the nine months ended march 31, 2010. The earnings per share for the nine months period ended March 31, 2011 were Rs5.96 as against Rs5.28 last year. The net profit after tax was Rs787 million as against Rs697 million last year. PNSC has acquired four bulk carriers (one Panamax, one Handymax, one Supramax and one Handysize) at a total price of US$124.25 million, managed through commercial loan, which PNSC contracted with a consortium of commercial banks.

The first vessel was delivered to PNSC in October 2010 at Kashima-Japan and is named as "Chitral" and second vessel "Malakand" was delivered to PNSC in December 2010 at Dalian-China. Third vessel "Hyderabad" was delivered to PNSC in April 2011 at Guangzhou China, while delivery of fourth vessel was scheduled in May 2011, which named "Sibi".

However, PNSC during the tough time in global shipping remained profitable during the nine month of FY 2010-11. The corporation has developed a five years fleet development plan (2010-15), which envisaged induction of 13 vessels.

PQA

Port Qasim Authority (PQA), being the first industrial and commercial port of Pakistan, caters for around 40 per cent shipping requirements of the country. PQA handled a volume of 13.019 million tones cargo during 2010-11 (July-Dec), as compared to 13.276 million tones handled during corresponding period last year, showing a decline of two per cent. The volume of import cargo during July- December 2010 stood at 10.181 million tones, as against the 9.853 million tones handled during corresponding period last year, showing an increase of three per cent. The export cargo declined to 2.838 million tones during July-December 2010, as compared to 3.422 million tones, handled during corresponding period last year, showing a decline of 17 per cent, mainly due to flood in the country.

A total of 5.225 million tones of containerized cargo were handled during Jul-Dec 2010 as against the 4.573 million tones handled during corresponding period last year 2009-10, showing an increase of 14 per cent.

With completion of these projects in 2011/2012, the port's handling capacity shall be increased from 40 million tonnes to 83 million tonnes. Furthermore, to accommodate larger vessels and benefit from scales of economy, PQA plans deepening of navigation channel at a cost of US$150 million.