Fact-check: Is Pakistan selling its port in Karachi to a UAE company?

UAE company will only develop four out of 33 berths at the Port, by investing $220 million in the first 10 years

Geo Fact-Check

Pakistani social media users appear to believe the claim that Pakistan has handed over all its cargo terminals, at the deep-sea port in Karachi to an international company for 50 years, for a paltry $50 million.

The claim is inaccurate.


“Entire Karachi Port leased to Abu Dhabi for 50 years for $50 million and $18 per container,” wrote a verified-Twitter user on June 22, “Yes, 50 years for $50 million only.”

The tweet has been retweeted over 3,000 times and liked over 8,000 times, to date.

On June 23, a Facebook user shared a similar claim.

The post had been shared 9,000 times, at the time of writing.

Muzzammil Aslam, a spokesperson of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on economy, also wrote that handing over the port for $50 million “did not make sense”.

“Government can impose royalty on themselves,” he added, “There will be more profit outflows than this meagre $50mn. Be sensible please.”


Pakistan will not be handing over its entire port in Karachi to a United Arab Emirates company, confirm officials. The company has only been granted permission to develop four out of 33 berths at the Port within 50 years, by investing $220 million in the first 10 years.

The AD Ports Group of the UAE signed a concession agreement with Pakistan’s state-owned Karachi Port Trust (KPT) on June 22.

Under the terms of the 50-year concession agreement, the AD Ports Groups will manage, operate and develop berths 6,7, 8 and 9 at the Karachi Port’s East Wharf, a press release by the company, dated June 22, read.

The statement adds that the UAE-based company will invest $220 million over the first 10 years.

Faisal Ali Sabzwari, Pakistan’s minister for maritime affairs, told Geo Fact Check over the phone that $50 million will be paid by the international company “upfront for Pakistan’s concessional assets [at the Port] and other charges etc”.

The UAE company will further pay Pakistan $18 royalty per box, land rent and other charges, which will be hiked up every three years by 5% and 15%.

On June 23, the minister also held a press conference where he further clarified that the Port has not been sold to any company.

These container terminals, spread over four berths, were already being developed by a Philippines-based company since 2002, he said, adding that the concession agreement with that company was for 21 years and ended recently.

After which, he explained, the Karachi Port’s board of trustees decided to sign a concession agreement with a new company.

Additional reporting by Muhammad Binyameen Iqbal

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