Pakistan, Dubai ink over $3bn pact in diverse fields

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Pakistan and Dubai have inked more than $3 billion investment pact in diverse fields including cooperation in railways, economic zones and infrastructure development.

The agreement was signed at the World Economic Forum in Davos by Minister of Communication, Railways and Maritime Affairs Shahid Ashraf Tarar and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem.

According to the Ministry of Railways, the cooperation covers the development of a dedicated freight corridor, multi-modal logistics park, and freight terminals.

The Dubai Port (DP) World will work on infrastructure development at Qasim International Container Terminal which is Pakistan s leading trade gateway and plans to develop an economic zone near the terminal.

According to the statement, both governments have signed two Inter-Governmental Framework Agreements to strengthen their relations in the marine and logistics sectors, including the potential establishment of a Dedicated Freight Corridor and Economic Zone near Karachi.

The DP World will act on behalf of the Dubai Government, while Pakistan Railways and Port Qasim Authority will act on behalf of the Pakistan Government, for the development of the projects. The rail-based Dedicated Freight Corridor is planned to run from Karachi Port on the Arabian Sea, passing through Karachi, Pakistan s most populous city, to the Pipri Marshalling Yard, approximately 50 km away.

This would decongest Karachi besides improving road safety. It will significantly improve efficiency, and transport times and reduce the overall cost of logistics. Pakistan Railways is Pakistan s national, state-owned railway company, owning and operating nearly 8,000 route-km of railway across the country, from Peshawar in the northwest to Karachi in the south.

The Qasim International Container Terminal, a second framework agreement was signed with Pakistan s Ministry of Maritime Affairs to dredge the navigation channel. The DP World would carry out the capital dredging on behalf of the Government of Dubai. This framework agreement will also see the development of an economic zone at Port Qasim, which aims to attract more than $3 billion of foreign direct investment.

The DP World, on behalf of the Government of Dubai, will carry out the development of the economic zone, to maximize economic activity in Pakistan.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Shahid Ashraf said “The DP World has a long-standing proud presence in Pakistan witnessed by mutually rewarding engagement. Building on the unwavering trust and partnership, the two brotherly countries have decided to further consolidate their economic cooperation through landmark projects.

The signing of Investment Framework Agreements highlights the importance of Pakistan as a gateway to Asia and commercial dividends associated with its strategic location.” Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said that Pakistan is a growing market and an important trade corridor to Central Asia.

“We are proud to have contributed to its trading ability through our operations at Qasim International Container Terminal and are honored to work with various Pakistani government organizations to develop new freight systems and with Port Qasim Authority to enhance port connectivity and investment.

These will help serve Pakistan s growing population, forecast to approach 300 million in the coming decade, and integrate it further into the wider region.”

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