KARACHI: The Ministry of Maritime Affairs has planned to review and update the Master Plan of Port Qasim Authority (PQA) to develop the port as an international facility in this region, an official said.

“The project envisages redefinition of the Port Qasim master plan and presentation of alternative development strategies recommending the optional solution to take the port into the next century together with an identification of expected sources of funds and opportunities for private investment,” the official said.

PQA has also invited Request for Proposal (RFP) from foreign consultant firms to review and update PQA’s master plan.

It may be mentioned here that the 1st Master Plan was prepared by NESPAK in associate with Swan Wooster Engineering Company, Canada in 1975. The 2nd amended Master Plan was prepared by NESPAK in 1980 for period extended to year 2000. The 3rd amended Master Plan in 2001 was prepared by Engineering Consultant International Limited (ECIL) in association with Maunsell Consultancy Services, UAE, and same is presently being followed.

Strategic Planning Study for Port Qasim was prepared in the year 2000-2001. It recommends “review every five years the economic trends and their impact on the demand for Port facilities as well as the land for industrial and commercial use in Port Qasim.

“It is established that economic development is a dynamic process. No study can ever predict development of a country accurately for longer periods and so does any Master Plan. It requires to be updated periodically particularly after the short term development prediction period has elapsed,” the official said.

Port Qasim Authority now actively encourages private sector investment in the port and envisages itself moving ultimately into the role of a landlord port, primarily carrying out regulatory functions and providing the necessary institutional framework to support private sector development.

“It is a fundamental requirement that the master plan be sufficiently flexible to cope with the inevitable changes in trading and shipping patterns, which will occur over time and to cope with changes in priorities. PQA objectively analyzing all aspects reflecting the optimized port, industrial, commercial and real estate development of Port Qasim during the next 25-30 years,” the official said.

The project would also define RLNG infrastructure within the port area; the existing container, bulk cargo and general cargo handling operations including future development, zoning and phasing of LNG, LPG, coal, oil and other terminals

The project will also divulge upon LNG bunkering in order to facilitate in future the acceptance of LNG fuelled shipping, and analysis of shipping and navigational facilities available, future vessel sizes, trends and requirements leading to forecast of future vessel movements in the port.