KPT dumps $30m bulk cargo terminal


KARACHI – The Karachi Port Trust (KPT) has dismissed the multimillion dollars bulk cargo terminal, terming the project as “unfeasible”, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Some six year ago, the KPT board through Board Resolution Number 02 had approved the construction of a multipurpose Dry Bulk Cargo Handling Terminal (DBCHT) at East Wharf of the Karachi Port. The project, however, later became controversial when one of the bidders, Transworld Cargo Despatch Company (TCDC), challenged KPT’s decision to award the multimillion dollars project to Star Terminals. The sources said that the KPT Board had approved the project through resolution, BR No 960, in 2007.
The KPT management has long been facing media trial due to insufficient transparency in the tendering process that has to be carried out in accordance with the rules of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority 2004.
DBCHT appears to be one such example of the alleged irregularities that perhaps made the TCDC, a business unit of Pak Shaheen Group of Companies, to knock the doors of a court of law which had responded swiftly and stayed the project. The stay order, however, was subsequently declared as null and void by the Supreme Court.
The KPT officials confirmed, as sources told Pakistan Today, that the KPT Board had decided to discharge the controversial venture as “unfeasible” following years long litigation process which had changed circumstances for the country’s largest port operator. “The project was terminated because the capital-intensive project cannot be awarded on the terms and conditions set years ago,” a KPT official told Pakistan Today. The now-discarded DBCHT, a private sector project, was to be built on built-operate-transfer (BOT) basis at an estimated cost of $30 million or 5.5 billion in the rupee terms. The Supreme Court is said to have recently discharged the case, a move that allowed, what the sources called them, “irritated” KPT authorities to bury the project once and for all.
But, even that did not provide a breather to the KPT management which, the sources said, was now concerned about the filing of a fresh constitutional petition by the TCDC against the port operator in the Sindh High Court. According to sources, TCDC has filed afresh a constitutional petition under Article 199 of the Constitution of Pakistan in the SHC. “We don’t care what they (TCDC) do now, let them do what they want,” replied a KPT official, when asked for a comment on the new petition.
The official argued that KPT, being the operator of Karachi Port, had the discretion to undertake or discard a project as per its feasibility. “It is our port and we have the authority to discharge the projects,” he said.
The KPT had received only two expressions of interest from the contracting firms in response to its invitation in July 2007 for the technical and financial consultancy services at the proposed DBCHT. The $30 million bulk cargo terminal project was envisaged to be completed after 24 months from the date of start in 2009.


Comments are closed.