Karachi Port Trust (KPT) is acquiring three new steel hull pilot boats from its own funds for operations at the port under the plan to upgrade infrastructure in a phased manner, it was learnt on Monday.

“Provision of port services for pilotage, luggage and mooring of the vessels calling at the Karachi Port comes under the domain of Karachi Port Trust. KPT has adequate flotilla for the operational management of all vessels calling at the Port,” an official said.

“Besides improving the port infrastructure, KPT intends to replace its flotilla in a phased manner to strengthen its marine flotilla,” an official said.

The official said KPT has already issued an international tender for three new/unused pilot boats. The bids would be opened on February 2 next year. The port is expecting an early start of its bulk cargo terminal, which will enable the port to handle more dry bulk cargo efficiently.

“The New Year is expected to be an economic recovery year for the nation and the port is ready to cash on its fruition through its efficient port operations,” said the official.

KPT handled 41.8 million tons of cargo during the last fiscal year of 2019/20. This accumulated grand total of imports and exports handling breaks up as handling of 32 million tons dry cargo and 9.8 million tons of liquid bulk cargo.

KPT has three container terminals handling containerize cargo. Outgoing financial year witnessed a handling of 1.9 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) accumulated imports and exports handling.

KPT handled 1,492 marine vessels during the outgoing financial year, which includes 743 container vessels, 162 bulk cargo vessels, 173 general cargo vessels and 414 marine oil tankers. KPT has potential of handling more than 125 million tons cargo including 25 million tons liquid bulk cargo, and has sufficient capacity of handling about 4.25 million TEUs.

Pakistan’s exports grew for the third consecutive month in November to $2.2 billion, up 7.67 percent from $2 billion in the corresponding month last year. On the other hand, imports are now expected to increase further in the coming months following the abolishment of regulatory duty on imports of raw materials and semi-finished products.

Total exports are expected between $23 to 24 billion this fiscal year, according to industry estimates. Improvements are mainly coming from textile exports, both in terms of quantity and prices.

The central bank projects export values in the range of $23.4 to 23.8 billion in FY2021 – higher than the $22.5 billion recorded in FY2020. The government set an annual export target of $22.7 billion