Dubai: Global marine terminal operator DP World Wednesday launched its new container terminal at Port Qasim near Karachi in Pakistan, adding 300,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent container units) to its throughput.
The opening of Terminal 2, the major expansion of DP World Karachi, will take capacity at Port Qasim to around 1.2 million TEU from about 900,000 TEU, which is also the completion of the first of DP World's three-phase development — the largest investment in the port sector in Pakistan, the company said.
"Our investment in its development as Pakistan's first dedicated container port hub is in direct response to the growth we have been experiencing in the region," DP World chief executive Mohammad Sharaf said.
"It will contribute directly to the local community and Pakistan's economy in general," he said.
DP World Karachi, the country's first dedicated international container terminal, will handle cargo going to Pakistan and Afghanistan, the company said.
"The growth prospects for the South Asia region are expected to be double-digit between now and 2015.
"It is a high growth area and the expansion was needed because the port was operating at over 85 per cent utilisation," Kareem Murad, transport analyst at Shuaa Capital, told Gulf News.
Built on 13 hectares of reclaimed land, Terminal 2's quay is 670 metres long with three gantry cranes capable of handling vessels of around 6,700 TEU capacity, and six rubber tyred gantry cranes.
In line with market demand, Terminal 2 will be developed in a further two phases of heavy duty pavement expansion over a period of several years.
Each future phase of the terminal will be fully integrated and compatible with the existing terminal. The port also saw the arrival of its first customer yesterday, French container vessel CMA CGM Wagner.
Changez Niazi, chief executive of DP World Karachi, said: "The new facility further boosts our position as Pakistan's premier container terminal.
"We are committed to expanding our cost-effective and time-efficient services in line with our customers' needs."
The company recently failed to renew its management contract for Abu Dhabi's Mina Zayed, losing out on future throughput in its home market.
Analysts said the re-location of the port to the planned Khalifa Port will be based too close to DP World's largest operations at Jebel Ali, and conflict of interest may arise.
It also sold 75 per cent of its stake in Australian operations last month to use cash to reduce net debt.