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World Bank calls for Pakistani port shake-up

Karachi: The World Bank has completed a comprehensive assessment of Pakistan's ports, which calls for sweeping changes including a 15% reduction to port charges; a drastic reduction to staff at its two main ports, Karachi and Port Qasim; the outsourcing of port services to the private sector, and closure of Karachi Dock Labour Board following retrenchment of its staff amongst others. It also recommends increasing port draughts by dredging, availability of 24 hour navigation services and reviewing the number of naval officials in port authority appointments.

Meanwhile, Pakistan is in the process of completing a third major port, at Gwadar, majority financed by Chinese interests, which is expected to become operational this spring. In addition, there are plans to build a new Pakistan Deep Water Container Port capable of handling today's largest container ships, the builder of which is due to be selected from a shortlist of nine later this year. [03/01/07]

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