PIBT plays an effective role in curtailing environmental pollution during coal handling at Port Qasim

Pakistan International Bulk Terminal (PIBT) has contributed Rs 5.8 billion in FY2020-21 to the national exchequer of which around Rs. 3.7 billion was royalty payment of $2.27 for every ton of cargo handled while around Rs. 2.1 billion was for other duties and taxes.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) PIBT, Arslan Iftikhar Khan said in a statement that Pakistan International Bulk Terminal (PIBT) is a fully mechanized bulk cargo handling terminal in the country built on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis as per the international standards. “PIBT is a national infrastructure project which has been providing state-of-the-art terminal services since the commencement of its commercial operations in April 2017,” said Arslan.

“It is unfortunate that despite contributing heavily to the national exchequer and playing an effective role in curtailing environmental pollution, PIBT has continuously been victimized,” he added.

“He said that some quarters are raising questions over the capacity of the terminal whereas the fact is that such infrastructure projects are built to have a capacity which is enough for many years, and can be enhanced when needed. However, the current situation is not a capacity issue but merely mismanagement of imports as the terminal is designed to handle 12 million ton of coal annually but the imports have touched the peak last year with 10.07 million ton,” he added.

“From January 2021 to April 2021 only 2.65 million ton coal was handled and the remaining capacity was not utilized. The same happened from July 2020 to August 2020 when only 1.4 million ton of coal was handled,” he added.

“This shows that the terminal has ample capacity to handle the country’s coal requirements and we handled over a million ton coal per month many times during the last year,” said the CFO PIBT.

He said recently freight rates across the globe have increased to the all time high of USD 36,000 per day. Also, coal is now being traded at an all time high of USD 150/- per ton.

“The anticipated rise in coal prices and resultant urgency of the importers to purchase coal, coupled with the inefficiency of the importers to schedule their vessels, is the major reason for the recent congestion at PIBT but they are unnecessarily questioning the capacity of the terminal,” said Arslan.

It is worth adding here that the Supreme Court vide its Order dated 02.01.2020 in CRP No. Nil-K/2018 in HRC No. 29999-S/2018 directed PIBT that delay in unloading coal could be reduced if the import of coal was properly regulated and if vessels carrying coal arrive at reasonable intervals.

“PIBT has been regularly updating its website to display the vessel arrival schedule to enable coal importers to schedule their coal imports in the most efficient manner,” he said, adding that some coal importers still fail to plan their imports efficiently despite repeated requests from PIBT.

Moreover, there will be no extra load on the terminal if the importers manage their imports amicably, as evident from the last year data of coal handling when PIBT 10 million ton of cargo, which is still 2 million ton less than its capacity,” he added.

“The terminal can discharge a 60,000 ton coal vessel in less than two days of operations,” said the CFO PIBT. He added that earlier the imported coal was handled manually at the stevedoring berths at KPT which took 8 to 10 days per ship, that too without compliance of Environmental Laws and Approval of SEPA.

He said that there have been talks about exclusivity given to PIBT to handle coal which is contrary to the facts as Gwadar Port is also available to handle the coal imports.

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