Pakistan’s ports well protected amid COVID-19


ISLAMABAD, APR 20 (DNA) – Pakistani ports such as Gwadar, Karachi and Qasim are well-protected in wake of COVID-19, as they are carrying forward their routine operation, Gwadar Pro App stated in a report on Monday.

The Gwadar Port which strives to become a vibrant transit and transshipment port, kept on its working since COVID-19 did shake Pakistan’s economy.

On the plea of Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PAJCCI), Gwadar International Terminals Limited, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) and other stakeholders, the government of Pakistan allowed import of Afghan bulk cargo of wheat, sugar and fertilisers at the Gwadar Port, and onward transit to Afghanistan..

“The permission was given for the sake of efficient and cost-effective operationalization of the Gwadar Port and the western-corridor of the CPEC, the import of Afghan bulk-cargo of wheat, sugar and fertilisers at the Gwadar Port and onward transit to Afghanistan shall be permitted in bonded carrier, insured and sealable trucks having a tracking device installed on them,” the office memorandum noted.

In addition to Gwadar Port, KarachiPort and Port Qasim, Pakistan’s two main operating international deep-sea ports, also adopted measures to tackle the current economic downturn caused by COVID-19.

The government has recently approved 3 projects worth Rs. 1.04 billion for Karachi’s Korangi Fish Harbour (KFH), namely, “Establishment of Business Park at KorangiFisheries Harbour” worth Rs.784 million, “Establishment of Cold Storage & Freezing Tunnel at Korangi Fisheries Harbour” worth Rs. 170.1 million and “Modification of Auction Hall of Korangi Fisheries Harbour” worth Rs 94 million.

The first project presented by Ministry of Maritime Affairs envisages the development of Business Park to accommodate industrial units, offices and other associated infrastructure and services centered around one primary product or activity. The planned Business Park will be established on the 320 acres of land available within KPFHA boundary.

Port Qasim – currently caters for more than 40% of seaborne trade requirements of the country – issued a Response Plan for Coronavirus on March 12, preparing to deal with entry of the ship in port and while it is berth inside and defining the role function of port health authority, port administration, shipping lines/agents and other stake holders.

In accordance with the Response Plan, brisk shipping activity was observed at Port Qasim these days, with ships like Maersk Bentonville, Nordic Anny, CL Heidi and Serene Amelia carrying Containers, Mogas and Coal arriving at outer anchorage of Port Qasim on April 17.

On top of port authorities mentioned above, Pakistan’s fishermen are to venture into the Seas of Pakistan by being equipped with advanced Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) technology.=DNA