ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Commerce will establish a new dry port in Sargodha to facilitate local exporters in shipping their produce.
During the 71st meeting of the Export Development Fund (EDF) Board of Administrators, it was decided that the project would be funded by the ministry.
The meeting was chaired by Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir.
The board authorised a well-reputed consultant to conduct a business and technical feasibility study of the proposed dry port for a detailed design and cost estimation.
It also approved the establishment of a fruit packaging and processing plant in Quetta. The plant would provide modern value-addition facilities to help thousands of fruit farmers in Balochistan. This would also help farmers export their fruits to western countries.
Furthermore, a project for the expansion of ‘Effluent Treatment Plant’ in Korangi Karachi, which produces electricity using biogas produced in tanneries, was also approved during the meeting.
The availability of bio gas generators would save 70% of the energy already supplied through the grid.
“The experts have suggested that this plant will cut the operational cost and reduce the methane gas emission in the air considerably,” said the official. The board approved Rs10 million for the feasibility study of the dry port, which will be submitted to the Ministry of Commerce.
The official further said that as per the feasibility study, land will be acquired and since the port will be established near the railway station, Pakistan Railways will also be taken on board.
“The dry port will be operated under a trust in-line with the Sialkot dry port model. The proposed port will be provided all the facilities to ensure window operation to save resources and time of the business community,” he said.
It was noted that citrus is the major exportable item of the Sargodha region and there were about 250 kinnow processing units operating there. All consignments from Sargodha are cleared in Karachi due to unavailability of a dry port in the area, therefore, a establishing a port would not only reduce time and cost of local farmers but also help businessmen export their commodities.
“One of the reasons why the SMEs stay away from exports is the cumbersome procedures involved in the process,” said Datgir.
“The dry port will provide them all clearance facilities at their door-step thus resulting in an attractive incentive to export their products,” he added.