Railways hands over Karachi Dry Port to NLC

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In a recent deal Pakistan Railways has given the operational control of Karachi Dry Port to the National Logistic Cell (NLC), Pakistan Today learnt on Saturday. After failing to run the port efficiently Railways has given it up to LNC, thus loosing another source of revenue for the government.
The port which was earning revenue of Rs10 million per train has been closed by Pakistan Railway (PR) as it was facing shortage of locomotive engines, sources told Pakistan Today. Interestingly, the move came after the release of an Rs11 billion bailout package to PR by the federal government for repairing locomotive engines, signaling system, and other installations.
According to the deal with NLC, the latter is to repair existing four to five railway engines which would be used by the cell for its own freight handling and transportation from Karachi to various destination across the country, sources claimed. Following the recent deal, PR, has also called back 70 to 80 employees from the port and placed them into other departments.
The operational activities would be in the hands of NLC. National Logistic Cell has started operations and goods are being forwarded from the port to different parts of the country, they added. An employee of PR on the dry port said that transportation of goods from the port to other places was closed in 2010, however, export freight handling continued. He added that the railway administration laid some employees off for a while and then adjusted them into other department.
The employee, who did not want to be named, said that all the workers at the dry port situated at Merewether Tower, near Keamari, have now been shifted and absorbed into other departments. Sources in PR, also confirmed that the NLC was given a few faulty engines to repair, however they could not confirm whether the a complete transfer of operational control has taken place yet. “This is the second step taken by the administration of PR to completely outsource profitable freight transport service. Previously, it had given trains to various private companies for transfer of goods,” sources said.
Despite being a good source of income, people at the helm of affairs in PR have given control of cargo service to private companies. “The railway should have kept running the goods train to cover for the loses it makes on passengers trains,” Muqaddar Zaman an office bearer of Railway Mehnatkash Union said. He added that the railways has already failed to make a reasonable revenue through privatisation of the major part of cargo services and the fresh move also does not look promising.
He demanded that PR should run the dry port itself as it could help railways minimise loses.

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  1. PR should arrange new Locomotives as soon possible. PR should also arrange repair of existing locomotives within Pakistan.

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