KARACHI:

There has been a rush of imported containers at the terminals in Pakistan but the place to keep the containers has finished.

Due to the lack of clearance, the huge amount of revenue usually received by these terminals has also come to a stop, with operators now facing a major decrease in income.

The Pakistan International Terminal (PICT) yard, a private terminal at Karachi Port, has run out of storage space. The terminal management had to acquire additional space in the KPT yard adjacent to the terminal to store import containers. Rent and storage costs, however, have now become burdensome.

According to Khurram Aziz Khan, CEO of Pakistan International Container Terminal, due to the current situation, and the foreign exchange crisis, import barriers have also created difficulties for the terminal operators.

“PICT is a publicly listed company and has to take care of the interests of its shareholders whilst also paying dividends on foreign shareholding,” he lamented.

Khan believes that this situation is well understood by its principal investors who have invested 20 million dollars and are providing support in these critical times. The lack of profit on their investment, however, is making it difficult to attract foreign direct investment. He urged the government to focus on trade and industry, instead of trying to solve the foreign exchange crisis.

At present, the export sector is also affected, whose import consignments are lying at the port with which they have to manufacture and export products.

“Despite these unfavourable conditions, the terminal has waived the charges of Rs32 million, in order to give some relief to the industry,” he said, adding that, “KPT must also waive its storage charges on the containers.“

Terminal operators themselves are also facing difficulties in clearance of spare parts and importing spare parts from Turkey for necessary maintenance is becoming difficult.

Highlighting the importance of renewing the terminal’s 21-year concession agreement, he said that if this does not happen, he fears a monopoly forming at the port for which trade will bear the loss.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2023.

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