With the completion of Pakistan Deep-Water Container Port (PDWCP) Phase 1 in 2013, the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) will acquire the capacity to handle the new generation of container ships on its drawing boards.
Currently incapable of handling large vessels at its berths, KPT has taken initiatives to improve port capacity so that Panamax and Super Post-Panamax vessels can be brought into the city’s main port.
Vessels which can pass through the Panama Canal are called Panamax, or mother, vessels. These vessels have a beam of 13.2-14.2 metres. Super Post-Panamax vessels have a beam of over 14.3 metres.
Sources said that by 2013, KPT will be in a position to handle fifth- and sixth-generation ships. This involves the development of deep-draught berths. Keamari Groyne will be the natural choice for it because of its strategic location, they said.
The berths will be 18 metres deep with five-kilometres of the quayside. The long-term plan envisages 10 such berths. The project will be carried out in phases on the basis of public-private partnership. The cost of the PDWCP project is estimated to be $1.2 billion.
KPT spokesman Shafique Faridi told The Express Tribune that the current phase consisted of four berths with 16 metres of depth which would be extendable to 18 metres.
The contract has been awarded to Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH), Hong Kong, on the basis of BOT (Build, Operate and Transfer).
KPT infrastructure development includes the quayside, dredging and reclamation, marine protection and navigation at a cost of $70 million. HPH will operate four berths in Phase 1, Faridi said.
The terminal development and operations cost will be $457 million, he said, adding that the dredging and reclamation contract had been signed with China International Water and Electric Company (CWE).
Faridi said that a total of 33 million cubic metres of dredging, including 8 million cubic metres of reclamation, would cost Rs19 billion.
He added that the existing Port Approach Channel was to be widened and deepened so that it could be linked to the new PDWCP harbour. This will increase the depth of the existing channel from -12.2 to -16 metres.
Faridi said that the second component of the project would include Marine Protection Works (MPW) in which three breakwaters and a sand dyke would be built. He said the contract had been awarded to China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) at a cost of Rs12.8 billion.
The MPW will have three rock or concrete (CORE-LOC units) armoured breakwaters to provide shelter to the port basin and prevent sediment transport into the basin, he said.
The contract for the quayside has been awarded to China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) at a cost of Rs18 billion, Faridi said.
Faridi said that KPT could handle Seeder vessels only. KPT could not handle Panamax and Super Post-Panamax vessels because of their sizes and capacity, he said.
Vessels which have a beam of less than 13.2 metres are called Seeder vessels.