Port Qasim Authority plans to reduce berthing charges

KARACHI (March 04 2003) : The Port Qasim Authority (PQA) plans to introduce slab system for berth charges, which would reduce the existing berthing cost considerably.

The new tariff, being worked out, would also rationalise the port dues and storage charges for the benefit of the port users.

This was revealed at a meeting between Pakistan Ships Agents Association (PSAA) and the Director-General, Operations, Rear Admiral Asad Qureshi, held on Saturday.

Its President, Cyrus Cowasji, and General Secretary, Mohammad Rajpar led the PSAA team.

Under the existing tariff, the berthing fee is charged for a full day if the vessel stays one hour more after 24 hours.

The new tariff would specify a slab for waiting of vessels on berths, which would be calculated on the basis of hours and not days.

The PQA Director-General, Operations, invited proposals from ship agents to improve the port's tariff.

The ship agents were informed that the PQA's existing tariff, which was introduced in 1996, had become redundant as it lacked charges for a number of new facilities added to the operations.

The new updated tariff book would be launched after the Ministry of Communications approved the new tariff structure, he added.

Rear Admiral Qureshi informed the PSAA team of the new and accomplished projects to be implemented to modernise the port.

These included launching of night navigation, liquid cargo and LPG terminals and wheat silos.

The PQA is presently working on a project of installing new fenders on berth to enhance safety of the berthing vessels.

The work involves fixing of 30 fenders, imported from Japan at a cost of Rs 18.8 million.

The visitors were also informed about the berthing policy of the PQA, which was based on the universal principle of first come first, served.

The ship agents were further informed that the PQA planned to invite larger ships of 202 metre-length at the Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT). The port handled 23 percent more cargo during the first seven months of this year as against the same period last year.

The ship agents were informed that the PQA, in collaboration with the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), had simplified the procedure for entry of vessels into the port.

Under the old system, the master of the ship had to fill a number of forms, giving details about the cargo and crew.

The PSAA appreciated the PQA management for continuously maintaining 11.5 metre-draught at the port, which was confined to 10.5 metres in the past due to lack of dredging.

They praised the PQA's efforts for deepening the channel and berth area. About four million cubic feet of dredging has been completed so far.

Rear Admiral Qureshi sought the PSAA's co-operation in improving facilities for the port-users, and assured them that all their problems would be resolved.

The problems presented at the meeting were mostly related to payment of outstanding bills, especially those pertaining to Pakistan Steel.

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