Karachi port relocation to cost $9.6 billion: WB report

KARACHI: The World Bank has said that a potential relocation cost of Karachi Port to Somiani Bay, which is 85 kilometres to the north of Karachi, is about $9.6 billion.

According to a recent World Bank report, “The major costs are the construction of 6,629-meter length of new quay walls ($4.0 billion), three new port terminals ($1.4 billion) and the TPX [Thule Produce Yard] area ($1.6 billion).”

The report said that the port demand is expected to increase by 129 percent over the next twenty years at the rate of 4.2 percent per year.

The report accessed four alternatives for a national port strategy: to develop both Karachi and Qasim Ports simultaneously; focus on one at a time; or develop a third new port sometime in the mid-2030s when Port Qasim would reach its maximum capacity.

The report also explored the option of only developing Port Qasim, with an improved maritime access involving a cost of $550 million, but this action alone would not be able to address Karachi’s traffic snarls. Approximately, 95 percent of Karachi Port’s cargo is transported by road, causing severe traffic congestion in the city.

The report said an immediate high-level commitment was required to start building an elevated expressway linking northern highways to Karachi Port. “This would be a major contribution to increase capacity efficiency of Karachi Port,” it added. “The cost is estimated at $300 million, which is far less than investing in a new port.”

“By 2030, access to land would have been exhausted for new berths and existing berths will not be able to cater to the projected cargo volumes,” the report maintained.

It also discussed the possible resistance to any potential relocation of the port, saying there were areas under the control of the armed forces, including the naval dockyard and stores and similar strategic installations.

“These organisations will refuse to agree to shift,” the report said.

Karachi Port Trust Staff Union and Dockyard Workers Union are both very strong and politically well connected.

Despite giving them golden handshakes, the report maintained, members of these unions were likely to give maximum resistance. They can stop the shipping, berthing and operation, and go on an indefinite or long strike. “They are also capable of bringing the whole of Pakistan to a grinding halt,” said the report.

With staff of 5,343 and 394 officers, Karachi Port handles about 50 million tons of cargo per year, including over two million TEU [twenty-foot equivalent unit] containers. The port has an 11.5 kilometers long channel with 30 berths and three oil piers. Karachi Port has a history of 135 years.

The post Karachi port relocation to cost $9.6 billion: WB report appeared first on Pakistan Today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: