At least six oil boats are anchored or adrift at Port Qasim, waiting to be discharged, as a surge in imports puts strain on the port’s processing capabilities, potentially worsening Pakistan’s already dire fuel shortage.
This bottleneck has emerged at a time when the local industry need a steady supply of petroleum products.
According to a local newspaper, four of the six oil vessels carrying diesel, gasoline, and furnace oil belong to Pakistan State Oil (PSO), and one each to Shell Pakistan and Total. Meanwhile, the oil sector has requested that the port authorities respond quickly and enable them to berth.
The docks at Port Qasim were not designed to carry or berth more than 12-14 cargoes each month. The Karachi Port Trust has three oil piers, each with an eight-million-ton capacity, while the FOTCO terminal in Port Qasim has a nine-million-ton-per-year capacity for liquid cargo.
Pakistan is now attempting to maintain a consistent supply of diesel, which is said to be being stored by dealers and farmers ahead of the government’s removal of fuel subsidies in exchange for foreign investment.
On the other hand, the government requires furnace oil to keep power plants functioning in order to generate energy, as a power shortage of over 7,000 MW has resulted from gas shortages.