Karachi – AD Ports Group of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed an agreement Thursday to take over the running of part of Pakistan’s main Karachi docking facility in a deal worth an immediate $220 million, the company said.
The deal will come as a shot in the arm for Pakistan, with the economy on the brink of collapse and the government desperate for big-ticket foreign investment to help service crippling debt.
AD Ports Group has formed a joint venture with another UAE company, Kaheel Terminals, to take over berths from Karachi Port Trust (KPT), the state-owned handling agency.
Karachi Port is Pakistan’s oldest and busiest, with 33 berths, and the UAE deal will see the joint venture lease four of them for the next 50 years,
“The JV will undertake significant investments in infrastructure and superstructure over the next 10 years,” an AD Group statement said.
Plans include deepening the berths to allow for bigger ships to dock, extending the quay wall, and increasing the container storage area.
As a result, the terminal will be able to handle ships capable of carrying up to 8,500 containers, and capacity will increase from 750,000 to a million containers a year, the statement said.
The bulk of development is planned for 2026.
The UAE is a major contributor to Pakistan’s economy in the form of grants, loans and direct investment, and has previously bailed out a government that for months has been on the brink of defaulting on its debt.