FAP completes Pakistan’s first automated dry bulk cargo handling terminal

Fauji Akbar Portia Marine Terminals Ltd (FAP) has completed Pakistan’s first fully automated dry bulk cargo handling and storage terminal at an estimated cost of Rs 10 billion within two years. Speaking at a joint press conference at the terminal on Saturday.Chairman Port Qasim Authority (PQA) Muhammad Shafi, Vice Chairman FAP Ghouse Akbar and CEO FAP Ahmed Rana announced that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani would inaugurate the terminal on Tuesday, October 26. They said foreign engineers had completed the project in a record 24 months, which is located on 22 acres of land.The terminal consists of a 300-meter jetty, automated unloading and conveying systems, silos and bagging station, they added. They said the jetty would help FAP to enhance its cargo handing operations and reduce its dependency on PQA. The terminal will deal in grain of all kinds and fertilisers with completely separate storage and handling facilities, they added.The project is based on build own and operate (BOO) basis and the lease span is 30 years, which can be extended, they said, adding that the investment in the project is primarily local including National Bank of Pakistan, Fauji Fertilisers and FAP. To a question, they said foreign investment was coming from the US private equity funds but FAP had not yet decided the funds participation in the project, as there was some issues first needed to be solved. “We have not yet drawn down for the foreign investment and the focus is on our own resources for the project,” they elaborated.

They hoped the new-built terminal would help boost related businesses around the seaport including rice processing and bagging plants, besides employing around 150 professional and unskilled workers. They said there had been no such estimates of possible dry cargo handling at the terminal, as such operations would depend on arriving goods and their volume, but expressed the hope that the terminal would be a busy venue for ships.

They said once the terminal become operational would add around half a billion rupees in the country’s revenues from taxation. To a question, Muhammad Shafi said PQA would carry out capital dredging next year, however, at the movement its plan was for only 12 meters of the channel deepening. He said the port’s operation would go up with the passage of time with completion of LNG terminal, which was a major project. While FAP would give royalty for handling grain and fertilisers to PQA, he added.According to an FAP official the first cargo ship carrying oilseed was expected to berth on October 28 at the terminal. The terminal is capable of handling 4.1 million metric tons of dry bulk cargo annually. It is built on a nine-hectare of land having the capacity of carting to Panamax size vessels up to 80,000 DWT – Brecorder