The governments of Dubai and Pakistan have inked 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.
According to an official press release, the accords were signed on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos—in the presence of interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar—between interim Communication Minister Shahid Ashraf Tarar and Dubai Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem. It said DP World, headed by Sulayem, would act on behalf of the Dubai Government, while Pakistan Railways and the Port Qasim Authority would act on behalf of the Pakistan Government to develop the projects.
“Pakistan is a growing market, and an important trade corridor to Central Asia,” said Sulayem at the signing ceremony. “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,” he continued.
“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,” he added.
Tarar, meanwhile, acknowledged DP World’s “long standing proud presence” in Pakistan. “Building on the unwavering trust and partnership, the two brotherly countries have decided to further consolidate the economic cooperation through landmark projects,” he said, adding the signed agreements highlighted the importance of Pakistan as a gateway to Asia and the “commercial dividends associated with its strategic location.”
The press release stated that the proposed dedicated freight corridor would run from Karachi Port, pass through Karachi, and culminate at the Pipri Marshalling Yard. “This will improve efficiency, transport times, and reduce the overall cost of logistics,” it said, adding this would be developed by the Pakistan Railways.
It said the framework agreement to develop an economic zone at Port Qasim aimed to attract over $3 billion in foreign direct investment. “DP World, on behalf of the Government of Dubai, will carry out the development of the economic zone, with the aim of maximizing economic activity in Pakistan,” it added.
Additionally, DP World and Pakistan’s Maritime Affairs Ministry inked a framework agreement to dredge the navigation channel, with DP World to carry out the capital dredging on behalf of the Government of Dubai.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Kakar expressed satisfaction over the growth of exchanges, interaction and cooperation between businesses in Pakistan and the U.A.E. Welcoming DP World’s interest in expanding its business in Pakistan, he assured the company of the Pakistani government’s continued support. “Pakistan will continue to facilitate partner enterprises to realize its geo-economic vision as a hub of commerce and industry,” he said.