Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Land issues delay Pakistan's new shipyards

The Pakistani government's bid to construct two additional naval and commercial shipyards has been delayed by issues related to land ownership.

A source familiar with developments told Jane's on 1 October that work has not yet started, although a consortium has been assigned to develop the yards, to be located at Port Gwadar, in Balochistan Province, and Port Qasim near Karachi in Sindh Province.

He said: "The implementation of the construction phase has been held up by procedural issues and the allocation of land. We are waiting for the government to decide what to do and to decide which specific land will be used for the project. Hopefully the issue will be sorted before the end of 2009."

The yards were initially scheduled to be constructed under a public-private partnership (PPP) and equipped with facilities to build both naval and commercial vessels from about 2013 or 2014. The delay means it is likely that they will not be operational until at least 2015.

Islamabad has previously stated that both shipyards will be located on about 500 acres of land and will have at least two dry docks able to handle ships that weigh up to 600,000 dwt.

On behalf of the government, the construction project is being overseen by Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW), which itself is undergoing extensive modernisation in order to be prepared for the licensed construction of three submarines for the Pakistan Navy.

Jane's reported on 1 October that Germany's Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft's Type 214 submarines had been selected by Pakistan and that a contract was close to being finalised. Under this deal the first submarine is expected to be delivered to the Pakistan Navy 64 months after the contract was signed, with the remainder to follow within 12 months.

The source said that modernisation of the KSEW facilities was almost complete and that upgraded technologies and equipment were currently being utilised in the construction of a Sword-class (F-22P) frigate. While KSEW is building the fourth of these frigates, the first three are being constructed by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding in China.

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