ISLAMABAD: The Karachi Port Trust (KPT) on Friday hit back at the Petroleum Division and the oil industry, saying they were not giving the full picture and hiding their own shortcomings while complaining against the closure of an oil pier at KPT.
The response came in reaction to a letter from the Ministry of Petroleum, which cited Oil Companies Advisory Committee (OCAC) complaints that closure of OP-3 at the Karachi Port could lead to product shortages.
In its response, the KPT said the oil pier in question was not closed and vessels were in fact berthing there. Since June 23 vessels had berthed there, KPT claimed in its reaction, adding six of them belonged to OCAC and 17 were private. It said one reason for so-called shortage of petrol (Mogas) could be to slow discharge rate of oil tankers against the established norms of KPT.
It said the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) were also consuming longer time in getting the survey and sampling of product prior to discharge, which was the responsibility of importers and the OMC.
An official said a petrol vessel imported by a leading private oil companies was rejected by the Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan (HDIP) because of shortcomings against approved specifications and had to be moved out of the pier and was still standing in the deep waters. This caused about six-day loss.
The KPT alleged that OMCs infrastructure system comprising pipelines and storage facilities was the main reason and cause of slow discharge rate which forces longer stay of ships alongside oil piers and thus longer turn-around time. Moreover, if the sample fails, then ship has to wait for extra 12 hours to be pulled out of harbour.
Also Read: Oil imports affected by pier closure: OCAC
It explained that Karachi Port had three oil piers and out of these, Oil Pier 1 (OP-1) was completely dedicated to OCAC for berthing its vessels as and when they call at the port. This berth is given to other companies only when it is not required by the OCAC.
Berthing sequence at OP-2 is undertaken on a first come first serve basis and at OP-3 two plus one strategy is followed — which means two ships of OCAC are berthed first followed by one ship of other stakeholders, if requested.
KPT has ample berthing space to accommodate OCAC ships of petrol and crude oil provided they are properly managed by OCAC, the port operator insisted in an interaction with Dawn. More importantly, KPT has no role in allocating the berthing sequence to OCAC ships.
Interestingly, on the basis of concerns highlighted by the Petroleum Division, the KPT has convened an urgent meeting on Monday (Sept 3) with all the stakeholders to discuss proposed “reconstruction of OP-1 and repair/maintenance of OP-3”.
Those invited to meeting include the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) chairman, Director-General Oil of Petroleum Division, representations of Terminals Association of Pakistan, OCAC, PSO and Pakistan Shipping Agents Association.
On Aug 27, the Petroleum Division of the Ministry of Energy had complained for non-availability of a couple of piers of KPT, causing serious logistical issues for the berthing of crude oil and finished products and affecting local oil refining. It had sought intervention of the KPT chairman and secretary maritime affairs to address the situation.—KK
(This news/article originally appeared in DAWN on September 1st , 2018)