KARACHI: Former Karachi Port Trust (KPT) Chairperson Nasreen Haque has said that Pakistan Deep Water Container Port (PDWCP) would be completed by 2014.

While talking to The News, she added that it had become mandatory for the ports to meet the emerging demands of shipping lines. Foreseeing the global trend of change, KPT initiated many capital-intensive mega projects to bring its facilities at par with those of other ports of the world.

The port encouraged private sector investments in terminal operations. Karachi Port took the initiative of bracing itself to handle fifth and sixth generation ships. This involved the development of deep draught berths and due to its strategic location Keamari Groyne was the natural choice, she said. Feasibility was carried out and completed in 2005, which recommended the establishment of Deep Draft Berths. The berths would have 18 meter depth, with five kilometer of quay wall. Provision of 10 berths has been made in the KPT long-term plan, she said. The project is being carried out in phases and on public private partnership, Haque said. The cost of the project is $1.2 billion. She said that the award of contracts in respect of all components of the project was undertaken transparently after complete observation of all formalities in line with KPT Act 1886, defined procurement rules and stipulated guidelines of Planning Commission as well as the federal government.

She said that the Directorate General Audit of Federal Government conducted special audit of the project in December 2010 and declared it satisfactory while raising minor procedural objections.

She added that the development work there is in full swing, a fact that the standing committee members have witnessed. Haque added that the development work of the project was awarded after rigorous open competition to reputable British, Dutch, German, Chinese and Pakistani firms as their bids came to be the lowest. Selection of terminal operators for the first four berths container terminal was made through rigorous open tendering process in 2007.

She added that according to KPT Act 1886, the trust’s money should be used for the development and expansion of the port and KPT aims at improving the existing port facilities. No one should have any issues if KPT with due process invest its money on port’s expansion, said the lady who left the charge of KPT on Tuesday.

Senator Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, who is also the member of Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping, while talking to The News, said that he had reservation on PDWCP on the ground that there was no need of another port when there is already a Gwadar Port which is not fully operational yet.

He said the future of Gwadar is bleak in the absence of connectivity and shortage of funds to build rail and road links. He agreed that under the law, KPT can use its money for expansion and development of the port.

He denied that he had any issues with the chairperson of KPT or with her transfer. Mohammad Rajpar, a member of board of trustees of KPT, denied that the project has been put in the cold storage. He said that the project has been delayed. It was to be completed by 2012, but now it would be completed by 2014, he said. The work has slowed for technical reasons, he added. The contractor could not work with the ordinary dredger, so the company had to arrange a special dredger, which took a year, he said.

This project has not taken any money from the government, nor has it asked for any guarantees, he said. KPT is making this project from its own funds, he said. He said that Pakistan’s coastline is 1,100 kilometres and the country requires at least six ports.

He said that it is wrong to compare different projects as every project has its own importance and Gwadar Port is different from PDWCP. Pressure was faced by Karachi Port to provide deeper berths to attract mother vessels for economy of scales, Rajpar added.