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Pakistan seeks talks with AD Ports on terminal operations

The Pakistani government will formally negotiate with Abu Dhabi-owned AD Ports Group to transfer the operation of a Karachi Port Trust-owned container terminal, according to a local media report.

A cabinet committee met for the second time in a week and will set up an inter-ministerial committee to negotiate the draft framework agreement between the governments of the UAE and Pakistan. According to a report by Pakistani newspaper Dawn, citing a finance ministry statement, the aim is to strengthen relations in the maritime sector.

The move falls under the newly enacted Inter-Governmental Commercial Transaction Act 2022, which allows direct negotiations with “friendly nations” without going through the long-drawn-out process under the privatisation law.

Karachi Port Trust took over control of the container terminal (berths 6 to 9 at East Wharf) from Pakistan International Container Terminal (PICT) after the latter’s 21-year agreement expired on June 17, 2023.

In May, a UAE delegation, headed by Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, group CEO of AD Ports Group, visited Karachi to meet with Faisal Sabzwari, federal minister for maritime affairs of Pakistan.

The Abu Dhabi company signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Karachi Port Trust to develop, expand and digitalise port projects within Pakistan.

“We aim to leverage our group’s extensive experience and capabilities to transform Karachi Port’s container terminal into a premier hub for transshipment, as well as imported and exported cargo,” Al Shamisi said.