Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Japan to Finance and Build Modern Mass Transit System in Karachi

Pakistan's federal government and Sindh provincial government are close to a deal with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to finance a modern mass transit system befitting the megacity of Karachi with a population of nearly 20 million, according to a Pakistani TV Channel.

KUTC Trains Source: KUTC

The mass transit project will feature modern trains with automatic signalling and telecommunication system. An automatic train control (ATC) system will be set up. The train stations will feature computerized ticketing and vending machines, automated ticket gates and elevators. It will be run by Karachi Urban Transport Corporation (KUTC).

Project History:

The $2.5 billion project will revitalize and modernize the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR). Opened in 1964, the old KCR ran from Drigh Road in the outskirts to the center of the city of Karachi. It ceased operations in 1999 after it suffered huge losses.

Efforts to revive it began in 2005 with a feasibility study conducted by Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) completed in 2006. UK-based Scott Wilson Railways was appointed to validate the report prepared by JETRO. Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), which is funding the project, sponsored a final study prepared by Special Assistance for Project Formulation (SAPROF). US-based consultants Louis Berger validated the final report. The progress has so far been slow and halting but it now appears that the new government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is pushing to make it happen.

Project Scope:

The JETRO study has recommended that the project be done in two phases.

Phase I of the project will include a 28.3 km circular section from Karachi Cantonment to a proposed station at Gulistan-e-Johar. About 9 km of this section will be elevated.



Phase II will consist of the 14.8km circular section from Gulistan-e-Johar to the proposed station at Liaquatabad. This section will have two dedicated tracks along the main line. Phase II also includes a 5.9 km airport line from Drigh Road to Jinnah International Airport. This extension will either have an elevated or underground track. Other bridges, culverts and underpasses, wherever necessary, will be constructed for the project.

Project Funding:

Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) is providing the entire funding for the project through a soft loan. The loan is payable in 40 years by the stakeholders of the City District Government Karachi, Pakistan Railways and Government of Sindh. The Karachi Urban Transport Corporation (KUTC) is planning an international tendering process for the project, which will be awarded on a turnkey basis. The winning contractors will operate it for the first two years of operation.

Rolling Stock:

The new KCR will be served by electric multiple units (EMU) with a capacity to carry 1,400 passengers. The maximum speed of the EMUs will be 100 km/h. About 290 trains are expected to operate daily at six-minute intervals.

Infrastructure Construction:

Proposed Station Design 
The project will include the construction of 19 underpasses and three overhead bridges. About 23 stations are planned for the project. The stations will feature computerized ticketing and vending machines, automated ticket gates and elevators.

The existing KCR has about 22 level crossings. Since the railway line passes through the major commercial areas of the city, these level crossings need to be removed to ensure that trains can operate every 6 minutes. The level crossings are expected to be removed and replaced by underpasses or overpasses.

Economic Impact:

There will be significant positive economic impact of this megaproject. In addition to its obvious benefits for the businesses owned by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's family, there will be thousands of new jobs created for ordinary Pakistanis during construction and later to operate the system. It will help stimulate Pakistan's stalling economy.

Japan's Interest:

Japan's commercial interest in Pakistan has recently been validated by JETRO survey of Japanese companies doing business in the country. It indicated that Japanese companies have "strong intentions to expand their business for the reasons of “sales increase” and “high growth potential.” in Pakistan. Clearly, the Japanese see significant future potential in Pakistan to increase their economic footprint in the emerging growth market.

Current Status:

The city and the provincial governments have already begun to remove squatters in and around the existing KCR track to begin new construction. Each of the estimated 5,000 affected families is being promised an 80-square-yard newly built home. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is providing financial assistance for the resettlement project, while the KUTC will give an additional Rs 50,000 in financial aid to each affected family, according to a news report.

Future Concerns:

One of the key concerns is how will the system be managed after the first two years of operation by the turn-key contractors? Will it suffer the same horrible fate as the previous public transport systems have in Karachi? Will it be used to hire political cronies of the ruling politicians? Will it be headed by incompetent and corrupt managers hand-picked by politicians? If the politicians are serious about ensuring a well-run mass transit system in Karachi, they will need to take a page from the Delhi Metro Rail Corp (DMRC) system in India.  It is being run very well by an independent professional management team without political interference in its day to day hiring, firing and other management decisions.

Summary:

It is certainly welcome news that Karachi, the world's fastest growing megacity, will finally have a mass transit system that its residents need and deserve. Let's hope this time it's for real.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Saving PIA, Railway and Education

Politics of Patronage in Pakistan

Incompetence Worse Than Corruption in Pakistan

JETRO 2013 Survey of Pakistan

Pakistan on Goldman's Growth Map

Karachi is World's Fastest Growing Megacity



25 comments:

Ashraf said...

they must be dreaming. In my lifetime?

Riaz Haq said...

Ashraf: "they must be dreaming. In my lifetime?"

It's been going on since 2005...hope it's real this time. Things appear to have finally lined up.

Riaz Haq said...

ADB to assist in funding a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System in Karachi, according to Dawn:

The Asian Development Bank has agreed to assist Pakistan to develop a sustainable urban transport service in Karachi through the delivery of a bus rapid transit corridor focusing on accessibility and people’s mobility, and decided to send a mission to appraise the project, it emerged on Thursday.

According to the bank, a fact-finding mission will spend the whole month of May 2015 in Karachi to initiate the project design, while the project will come for the review in the first week of July 2015 before the ADB executive board takes it up and approves financing. The ADB has approved $9.25 million for the feasibility study.

The United Nations Development Programme will participate in project designing, mainly through stakeholder engagement process and inclusive infrastructure design which includes technical design and inputs from future users.

The bus industry transition process will continue with the objective that current bus operators will become the operators of the new bus rapid transit (BRT) operations. The ADB loan for the BRT project will also allow setting up of a fleet scrapping and compensation mechanism.

The ADB released details of the project on Thursday, stating that the project will aim at organising the urban growth and public space along the selected corridor through integration of land-use and transport planning on the lines of transit-oriented development, making Karachi more pleasant to live in, providing a holistic solution for integrated urban mobility, and bearing a demonstration value as no modern mass transit system exists in the city yet.

The project outcome will improve quality of public transport along a selected corridor in Karachi. The project will consist of two inter-linked output involving BRT corridor restructuring that will include the construction of a BRT route, designed and built following international best practices and quality standards along either the Green, Red or Yellow line; sidewalks, on-street parking, mixed-traffic lanes and NMT lane along the BRT; a high-capacity drainage system along the corridor; BRT depot; and improvement of access roads for non-motorised transport and feeder services.Energy-efficient streetlights and intelligent transport systems for traffic management along the corridor will also be procured and installed under the inter-linked output of the project. The construction of associated infrastructure such as intercity bus terminals and off-street parking is likely to be considered as well.
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With limited infrastructure and low level of public services, the city’s urban transport system fails to provide mobility for all people. Car and motorcycle ownership (49.7 and 47.4 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2010) is still low but increasing fast with a growing middle class.

From 1988 to 2010, the number of registered cars in Karachi more than tripled, reaching 940,000, while the number of motorcycles quadrupled, reaching 900,000. Maintaining the same growth rate, there could be up to 2.1 million cars and 2.7 million motorcycles in 2025.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1072079/adb-ready-to-assist-brt-project

Anonymous said...

The answer to road transport issues is not just the Karachi circular railway project but rather an integrated mass transit system that combines different modes of transports, said speakers at a seminar held on Monday at a local hotel.

The seminar to sensitize journalists on issues related to the transport sector was organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Pakistan. The initiative was part of the Pakistan Sustainable Transport Project (Pakstran) which is being implemented by the government with the support of Global Environment Facility (GEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Speaking on the economics and social dynamics of the transport sector, Mohammad Aqibuddin, an expert on transport and environment related issues, said the population of Karachi was growing 4.2 per cent annually since 1998 and was projected to grow 18.9m in 2010 and 27.6m in 2020.

“The city has registered a 500 per cent increase in the number of vehicles that has jumped from 5.21m (1987) to 24.5m (2006). It has been assessed that 40 persons compete for one bus seat in the city as compared to Mumbai where 12 individuals vie for the same. This is because the Indian city has an efficient railway system,” he explained.

Showing a slide, he said the public transport of Karachi constituted only six per cent of all vehicles in use but it carried 55-60 per cent of all transport users. Private cars which comprised 29 per cent of the total vehicular traffic carried only 22 per cent of transport users.

He criticised the government policy of addressing traffic jams through more flyovers and said it was flawed since the city continued to face frequent traffic snarls. Identifying obstacles to an efficient urban transport system, he said these barriers existed at the institutional, regulatory and financial levels.

“For instance, the lack of consensus between two major political parties in Karachi over the governance system is a big stumbling block in implementing any policy or project,” he said.

Giving a presentation on sustainability concepts in transport sector/options and benefits, Prof Dr Shabbar Ali, chairman of the Department of Urban and Infrastructure Engineering of NED University of Engineering and Technology, said that the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) data showed that an overwhelming majority of people in Karachi travelled by public transport.“Sixty per cent people utilizing the public transport spend Rs500 to Rs1000 monthly on commuting. The city with a rapidly growing population has no urban transit system. The gap is being filled by qingqi (motorcycle rickshaws), an unsafe mode of transport,” he said.

To a question regarding Karachi circular railway project, he said it was a viable option but not a complete answer to the transport problem as the city had now become huge and more complex.

Regarding the obstacles causing delays in implementing the railway project, he said that one major hindrance had been to acquire land from encroachers. “The writ of the government could be gauged from the fact that it could not vacate the land to complete Lyari Expressway,” he said.

Dr Raza Mehdi, a senior teacher at NED University, spoke about the linkage between air and noise pollution caused by traffic congestion and human health.

Informing the audience about Pakstran, Syed Kamran Haider Naqvi, urban specialist at IUCN, said the five-year project with a funding of $7.8m was aimed at reducing the growth of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. “These objectives would be achieved through planning and implementation of integrated urban transport systems,” he said.

Project proponents, however, failed to give satisfactory replies to journalists who raised questions over how the desired objectives would be achieved considering the failure of multiple transport schemes. No target areas in specific cities were identified in the programme for project’s execution.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1075932/karachi-needs-integrated-mass-transit-system-experts

CB said...

Sir there is also a problem. 60% of KCR route is owned by Pakistan Railways. Although Saad Rafique is cracking down on enroachment in those areas, he is however not interested in sending Railway trainees to Japan. Instead he decided to send them to China.

It is known to us that Nawaz Sharif, Sind Govt and Planning Division are sticking with Japan but since this guy is also part of the Federal Government and his actions speak otherwise, question is how firm is the decision ?

Riaz Haq said...

CB: "Sir there is also a problem. 60% of KCR route is owned by Pakistan Railways. Although Saad Rafique is cracking down on enroachment in those areas, he is however not interested in sending Railway trainees to Japan. Instead he decided to send them to China"

Unlike KCR which was driven into the ground by Pakistan Railway in 1999, the new mass transit system in Karachi will not be run by Pakistan Railway. It will be under Karachi Urban Transport Corp (KUTC).

Anonymous said...

The Karachi Mass Transit Cell (KMTC) is planning to set up Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), Yellow Line Karachi Project. National Engineering Services Pakistan (Pvt.) Limited (NESPAK)’s services have been hired for preparing feasibility study of this project aimed at alleviating traffic congestion in the biggest city of Pakistan. So far, NESPAK has prepared the preliminary design, engineering and environmental impact assessment reports for the project.
The 26 kilometer route stretches from Dawood Chowrangi to Regal Chowk & Numaish Chowrangi via 8000 Road in Korangi Industrial Area, Korangi Road, Shahrah-e-Faisal, Shahrah-e-Quaideen and New M. A. Jinnah Road/Preedy Street. The proposed corridor was identified as one of the BRT corridors in Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Transport Master Plan, 2030 as ‘Yellow Line’. The objective of “Yellow Line” BRT Corridor Study was to prepare a feasibility report covering technical, financial, economic, legal and environmental aspects along with Transaction Advisory Services.
Out of total 26 kilometers corridor length, 4 kilometers will be elevated in congested areas. The project cost is approximately Rs. 13 billion.
The expected ridership along the corridor is about 148,000 per day in the year 2013 increasing to 231,000 by the year 2030. The project is designed to be convertible to Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, if required, when the demand will exceed the BRT capacity in future.
The project will be executed under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Mode with three main concession contractors i.e. Infrastructure Developer, Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) / Fare Collector, and Bus Operator. The project will offer a high quality public transport system to the general public alleviating congestion on surrounding roads and providing substantial travel time savings along the corridor with limited disturbance to the existing transport network.

http://www.nation.com.pk/business/13-Feb-2014/karachi-bus-rapid-transit-system-soon

HopeWins Junior said...

Who is going to be making these trains and where? Will they be setting up manufacturing plants in our country? Or will these trains be imported from Japan (the donor-lender)?

Anyone know?

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "Who is going to be making these trains and where?"

Initially, the trains will have to be imported. But as the demand grows, at least some of it should be done by domestic manufacturing.

Imran said...

Electric or diesel locomotives? Both will be a problem as there is not enough power generation or import more oil.

Riaz Haq said...

Imran: "Electric or diesel locomotives? Both will be a problem as there is not enough power generation or import more oil."

These trains use EMUs or Electric Multiple Units for locomotion.

As to power shortage, most of the areas in Karachi where collection is more than 80% never see load-shedding.

I expect the supply-demand gap to considerably close with the coal, hydro and nuclear projects currently well financed and in progress.

zafar said...

will it be similar to metro trains in delhi and mumbai....because i've heard and listened a lot about indian metro trains....now in almost every big city of india.....delhi,mumbai,bangalore,jaipur,chennai,kolkata....hamre yaha kab hoga?

Riaz Haq said...

zafar: "will it be similar to metro trains in delhi and mumbai"

It'll be better....more like the Tokyo mass transit system with trains and BRT buses, all connected in a single system.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Harvard University report on an urban planning conference in Karachi:

...By January, however, the event had grown into a three-day conference on South Asian cities, attracting upward of 800 people, with concurrent sessions in large tents erected for the occasion in the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

In addition to a Harvard delegation of seven, the conference drew urban design professionals, government officials, and academics from across Pakistan and elsewhere in South Asia, including India and Bangladesh. Tarun Khanna, director of Harvard’s South Asia Institute, said the event grew through regional collaboration and was symbolic of a “narrative of peace” that seeks to counterbalance the history of strife in the area.

Organizers said the conference was just the initial discussion in what they hope will be an ongoing conversation about the problems and opportunities confronting cities across the region. Further, officials at Harvard’s South Asia Institute (SAI) say the conference is both part of the Institute’s growing engagement with Pakistan and a sign of the enthusiasm of Pakistani partners for further collaboration.

SAI’s engagement is multifaceted and includes conferences and training programs in Pakistan, workshops, fellowships, and Pakistani students on Harvard’s campuses, as well as webinars spanning both locations, featuring Harvard faculty in Cambridge and viewed by students at dozens of Pakistani universities.

Meena Hewett, executive director of the South Asia Institute, said the Pakistan programs are an expression of the institute’s focus on India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan. Though India is the region’s largest country, it’s important, Hewett said, that the institute promote an agenda that encompasses all of South Asia.

In addition to fostering an understanding of the country itself, Pakistan has a lot to offer to the regional dialogue, Hewett said. Pakistan is the world’s sixth-most populous nation, with a long history and enormous diversity. It is struggling with many of the same issues as many of its neighbors, including urbanization, poverty, water security, public health, religious differences, and governance.

“Beyond the narrative of violence and terrorism, there is all this good development work going on,” Hewett said.

--------
South Asia’s cities have a lot to learn from each other. While urban areas around the world are struggling with the same problems, the cities across South Asia share a “similar DNA,” Mehrotra said. That DNA has been instilled by shared regional history, including British colonization and enormous urban growth in the post-independence era. Among their commonalities, the region’s major cities are among the world’s largest, have undergone rapid demographic change in the last 30 years, and suffer from poor infrastructure and services, as well as a lack of political will to transform, Mehrotra said.
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Jennifer Leaning, the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, delivered a keynote speech at the January conference on climate disasters and vulnerability, and participated in two other panels on disaster response and mental health. With funding from the Karachi-based Aman Foundation, Leaning is involved in a project to improve that city’s disaster preparedness and disaster-related mental health. Late last year, two Harvard Medical School faculty members conducted needs assessment and a training program in emergency preparedness for staff at Karachi hospitals.
-------.


http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2014/03/the-bright-side-of-pakistan/

Riaz Haq said...

Japan's JICA funding Karachi Children's Health Institute:

KARACHI – “The Project for Improvement of Child Health Institute in Karachi” was launched today to mark the start of its construction work. The ground breaking ceremony for the project was held today in Karachi, jointly attended by Dr. Sikandar Ali Mandhro, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Environment, Coastal Development Authority, H.E. Mr. Hiroshi Inomata, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan and Mr. Mitsuyoshi Kawasaki, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Pakistan Office.

The Government of Japan provided grant assistance worth 1.423 billion Japanese Yen (equivalent to around Rs. 1.38 billion) for this project which is implemented through JICA.

Sindh Government’s Child Health Institute receives pediatric patients from all over the northern Karachi city, whose population is approximately 4.16 million and that of children under 12 (the beneficiary group of the project) is approximately 1.77 million. However, the existing setup of this institute can provide limited medical services due to lack of facilities and equipment. Patients that require specialized pediatric medical treatment are referred to the tertiary medical facilities which are already overburdened.

At the ceremony, Ambassador of Japan Mr. Inomata said, “Providing high-quality healthcare services is one of the priority areas in Japan’s assistance to Pakistan.” Ambassador Inomata pointed out severe insufficiency in delivery of child health services in Karachi and mentioned, “thus, upon request of the Government of Sindh, Japan decided to provide a grant aid to expand facilities of the institute to deliver improved health services to children.”

Mr. Inomata shared his belief that “investment to child health is investment for the country’s prosperous future. We have to ensure that all children receive proper medical treatment.” He expressed his wish for close cooperation among the Government of Sindh, JICA, all partners and companies involved for smooth and swift implementation of the project. At the end of his remarks, the Japanese Ambassador said, “This Project will further strengthen the existing good relationship between Japan and Pakistan. Our partnership, supported by strong ownership of the local authorities, will surely bring a better future to children and the country.”

In his reply, Dr. Sikandar Ali Mandhro expressed deep gratitude to Japan’s commitment to child health in Karachi.

Speaking at the ceremony Mr. Kawasaki, Chief Representative of JICA said “this grant assistance will enable Government of Sindh to establish 250 bed scale Child Health Institute and procure approximately 500 items of the medical equipment. This Child Health Institute aims to provide advanced pediatric care and establish a strong patient referral system in Karachi City.”

Mr. Kawasaki added “I sincerely hope this new child hospital will contribute to the community for long and serve as a drive for significant improvement for child health in Sindh Province.”


http://www.pakistantribe.com/story/8114/japan-kicks-off-construction-for-karachi-child-health-institute/

Riaz Haq said...

LAHORE: Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has said Chinese investment and supply of coal will play a significant role in boosting performance of Pakistan Railways.

Addressing a news conference in Lahore‚ he said China will invest 32 billion dollars in Pakistan. Out of this amount‚ four billion dollars investment will be made in Pakistan Railways.

He said no recommendation regarding privatization of the Railways is under consideration.

The minister said private investment will be welcomed in Pakistan Railways through a transparent manner.

He said steps are underway to utilize Railways land in a proper way.

http://paktribune.com/news/China-to-invest-4-bln-in-Pakistan-Railways-Saad-267609.html

Riaz Haq said...

ISLAMABAD: The government of Japan on Thursday signed an agreement with the government of Pakistan to provide Japanese hybrid vehicles worth 500 million Japanese Yen (equivalent to around Rs 490 million or US$ 4.93 million).
The agreement was signed between Hiroshi Inomata, ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, and Nargis Sethi, secretary of Economic Affairs Division.
This assistance is provided in the form of Japan’s Non-Project Grant Aid (NPGA) for promotion of socio-economic development efforts in developing countries by providing foreign currency for the import of necessary goods or commodities. The Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Communications had submitted their requests to procure hybrid vehicles under this NPGA for the police agencies under their umbrella. Further details of the procurement will be determined between the Japanese and Pakistani counterparts.
At the signing ceremony, Japanese Ambassador Inomata said, “Security enhancement is indispensable for successful socio-economic development in Pakistan and Japan remains committed to improving capabilities of law enforcement agencies in Pakistan.”
In the field of security and law enforcement, the government of Japan, through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has provided training opportunities to around 50 Pakistani police officers for the last 10 years in areas such as forensic science, drug control and terrorism investigation. In 2013, Japan also agreed to install cargo and vehicle scanning devices at three international airports in Pakistan. In addition, JICA is currently conducting a feasibility study for improvement of container cargo inspection at the two international ports in Karachi. From the environmental point of view, the hybrid vehicles use less fuel and emit less greenhouse effect gases than the conventional cars. The latest hybrid vehicles from Japan are expected not only to enable the Pakistani police agencies to reduce fuel costs for their daily operations, but also help government address environmental challenges.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/business/21-Mar-2014/japan-to-provide-rs-490m-hybrid-vehicles-for-police

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn story on World Bank report on infrastructure deficiency in South Asia:

ISLAMABAD: South Asia should spend as much as $2.5 trillion on infrastructure by 2020 to bring its power grids, roads and water supplies up to the standard required to serve its growing population, said a World Bank report on Wednesday.

“If South Asia hopes to meet its development goals and not risk slowing down — or even halting — growth, poverty alleviation and shared prosperity… it is essential to make closing its huge infrastructure gap a priority,” the report said in probably the first analysis of the region’s infrastructure needs.

The report, entitled “Reducing poverty by closing South Asia’s infrastructure gap”, says that “infrastructure deficiencies in South Asia are enormous, and a mix of investment in infrastructure stock and implementing supportive reforms will enable the region to close its infrastructure gap”.

Pakistan should invest $165 billion over ten years in improving infrastructure in transport, electricity, water and sanitation, solid waste, telecom and irrigation sectors, according to the report.

For the required investment in electricity sector of up to $96bn, Pakistan should generate funds through government-private sector partnership, the report said.

The average share of Pakistan in the total infrastructural investment in South Asia is only 12 per cent compared to 79 per cent by India, the report says.


http://www.dawn.com/news/1097656/s-asia-should-spend-more-to-serve-its-growing-population-report

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan is a rising star for multi-nationals in frontier markets along with #Nigeria, #Argentina, #Vietnam http://on.wsj.com/1p2g16O


Here's an excerpt of a Wall Street Journal story on Pakistan leading positive sentiments increase among top 20 frontier markets:

The corporate world’s fascination with Africa shows through clearly in the rates of change of sentiment, too. The data compare an average of corporate sentiment for year-to-date 2014 with an average of the results over the full-year 2013.

Four of the five countries with the highest positive change in sentiment are in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as seven of the top 10.

Pakistan, though, is ahead of the pack in terms of the number of companies newly taking an interest in it. Sentiment toward the South Asian nation of 183 million people improved by 5.6 percentage points, putting it ahead of Africa’s rising stars Nigeria and Kenya, which each saw sentiment improve by just over four percentage points.


In absolute terms, though, Nigeria is still the clear leader among the three with twice the number of companies in the index considering investing there. Nearly three in 10 companies have Nigeria on their watch list.

By contrast, Pakistan’s South Asian neighbors Bangladesh and Sri Lanka appear to be losing their appeal, with each seeing the number of companies focused on them slashed by more than half.

Myanmar, which has only recently emerged as a potential destination for investment, saw a similar decline in corporate interest, with a meager 4% of companies including it in their watch list. Companies’ waning interest in Myanmar most likely reflects the realization among executives that the country is far from ready to receive significant foreign investment in most sectors.

Not surprisingly, the country that saw the greatest decline in attention from multinationals was Ukraine, whose 12.5-point decline was almost double that of the next-worst performer, Oman. While financial investors have seen healthy returns from their high-risk bets on the tumultuous central European economy, businesses are looking elsewhere for long-term opportunities.


Overall, sentiment toward frontier markets among the 200 or so multinationals included in the survey declined. All but 14 of the 70 countries covered in the survey have seen the level of corporate interest in them subside since last year.

Mr. Lasov believes the slide is less about the fundamental appeal of newly emerging markets and more about the revived interest in the developed world. “In the past few years, there has been a rebound in developed markets, which has attracted companies’ attention,” he says. “At the same time, companies have looked at the frontier markets and realized that many of them have tiny populations, so to build a business or manage a business in these smaller markets may not be worth the time.”

http://blogs.wsj.com/frontiers/2014/06/06/nigeria-argentina-and-vietnam-prove-top-picks-for-multinationals/

Riaz Haq said...

Japanese experts have prepared a 2030 plan to improve Karachi’s transport network. This involves the Karachi Circular Railway, six bus rapid transit lines and two mass transit lines. Last year Bahria Town suggested to the Sindh government that it would be happy to pay for the Blue line from Merewether Tower to Surjani Town. It has invited Enrique Penalosa to advise them and their consultant, Exponent Engineering (EE), on the Blue line.
“He will be able to help us with the social and political aspects,” said Ashar Hashmat Lodi, the director of transportation engineering at EE, adding that technical experts need the benefit of that perspective for such projects. “I am extremely hopeful about the Blue line.”

Bahria Town is understandably interested in the Blue line to Surjani Town as its master-planned gated community is located 9km from the Superhighway toll plaza. However, the rules dictate that even though Bahria made an unsolicited proposal, the Sindh government has to open the floor to others and elicit competitive bids. “The draft for the request for proposals is being prepared,” Lodi said. In the meantime, though, EE and Bahria were keen to do their homework, which is why Penalosa was being invited.
---
Penalosa told The Express Tribune that he is keen to return to Karachi and especially speak on the political and technical arguments in favour of a well-done BRT. He felt that it would be wonderful to visit unplanned settlements and especially see where the city is growing. He recalled his visit to the Orangi Pilot Project where he met the late Perween Rahman.
“I remember Karachi as a city of light and blue skies,” he said in an email. “Karachi also seemed to me an extremely dynamic, creative, passionate city. The buzz of an economy moving, of people working hard, was evident everywhere; the art in trucks, the colours in the clothes, showed a creative city, a city which enjoys beauty and life.” He added, however, “But it also seemed Karachi was not a city with a clear vision of itself in the future…. [I]t was not a city very respectful of pedestrians and cyclists. As many developing country cities, it was not yet a city where it is understood that all citizens are equal and thus a bus with 90 passengers has 90 times more right to road space than a car with one. Karachi needed more dreams for itself, more dreams of pedestrian spaces and waterfronts, more clarity relative to democratic ways of distributing road space between pedestrians, bicyclists, public transport and [private vehicles].”
As mayor, Penalosa rejected proposals to build highways through Bogota, seven of them elevated. Instead he restricted private car use, especially during peak hours, and promoted public transport and bicycle use. He was nearly impeached for trying to get cars off the pavements, where they had parked for decades. It will be his experience in achieving these socially equitable solutions in politically explosive contexts from which Karachi could potentially benefit.
Bahria’s unsolicited proposal comes at a time when there has been a genuine push from several quarters to solve Karachi’s traffic crisis. The prime minister announced Rs17 billion for the Green line last year. The government has been in talks with the Asian Development Bank on the Red line and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy has been exploring the Yellow line.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/823852/mass-transit-global-brts-expert-invited-to-help-with-blue-line/

Riaz Haq said...

Business tycoon and Bahria Town chairman Malik Riaz on Thursday announced his plans of building a 54-kilometre expressway in Karachi.

Bahria Town will lend the Sindh provincial government Rs42 billion to execute the project, which Riaz said would be completed in 11-months time. The loan will have a repayment period of 15 years.

The project will enable approximately a quarter million people to travel on the expressway on a daily basis, said the Bahria Town chairman.

Riaz added that an agreement has also been reached with a private company for the procurement of 150 public transport buses for use on the expressway.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-174161-Bahria-Town-to-build-54km-expressway-in-Karachi:-Malik-Riaz-

Riaz Haq said...

PM #NawazSharif inaugurates #Islamabad Metro Bus project: 'This is a changing #Pakistan' Free #WiFi onboard

http://www.dawn.com/news/1186130

The 23-kilometre line, where 68 air-conditioned buses will carry an estimated 135,000 passengers a day along exclusive, signal-free lanes, links the neat, leafy capital with its sprawling twin city Rawalpindi.

The project was built in 13 months — six months longer than planned — at a cost of 44.84 billion rupees, and will use buses from Turkey.

With gleaming grey tiles, escalators, elevators and modern glass and steel structures with wavy red roofs, the 24 stations of the new line would not look out of place in a more developed country.

Riaz Haq said...

A startling sight in #Pakistan: Fast, affordable, air-conditioned buses #Islamabad #MetroBus http://wpo.st/IY8L0

For hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis, the miserable, sweaty, cramped commute is coming to an end.

Pakistan, one of the world’s fastest-growing countries, has long lacked an efficient public transportation system. Instead, Pakistan’s 180 million residents have jammed onto unreliable buses and vans prone to breakdowns and grisly traffic accidents.

The haphazard transportation system — which sometimes involves passengers riding on the roofs of buses or sitting on top of each other in taxis or passenger vans — has been the butt of jokes here and abroad. But now, in two of Pakistan’s largest cities, residents are enjoying new mass transit options that even commuters in Western nations might envy.

Rapid-bus systems that together cost $700 million are running in Lahore and the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the capital. In both metropolitan areas, more than five dozen air-conditioned buses circulate in dedicated lanes that use new bridges and tunnels to avoid traffic lights. Commuters wait no more than three minutes for a bus, reducing overcrowding while slashing average commute times by half. And at about 20 cents a ride, the heavily subsidized systems are accessible even to the poor.

Riders “feel respected, they feel more at home, and they can commute with dignity,” said Sibtain Fazal-i-Haleem, chief executive of the Punjab Metro Bus Authority, which manages both bus systems. “It’s a step toward modernization, it’s a step toward development, and it’s an improvement we should have done much earlier.”

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In 2013, Shahbaz Sharif’s provincial government spent $300 million to open the 17-mile Lahore bus route. Ridership has grown to about 140,000 passengers daily, officials said. Last year, the two brothers pooled provincial and federal money to construct the 14-mile, $400 million Islamabad-Rawalpindi route.

Using a 24-hour labor force, it was built with Dubai-like speed, opening last week after just 13 months of construction. The route includes 24 stations between working-class Rawalpindi and the wealthier capital, where most well-paying jobs and government agencies are located.

Within hours of its launch, residents flooded into the stations. Now, in a country where the average income is just $1,513 per year, the new service is offering a window into how transformational mass transit can be for the poor and middle classes.

The buses feature rechargeable fare cards, screens that show their current location, recorded messages announcing next stops and a cooling system that showers passengers with a final burst of chilled air before they disembark into the hot Pakistani summer.
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Sardar Muhammad, 85, emerged from one station carrying a shepherd’s stick.

“I never imagined I would see such facilities in my life,” said Muhammad, a farmer who lives on the outskirts of Lahore. He said he recently learned how to use the system for trips into town. “Traveling earlier was very slow, like using a donkey cart.”

Despite all the glowing reviews, questions remain about whether Pakistan’s chronically cash-strapped governments will be able to maintain the subsidized service.

But Kaiser Bengali, a prominent Pakistani economist, said the cost of the system should also factor in what he expects will be heightened productivity from the workforce.

“They used to have to spend an hour-and-a-half, two hours getting to their office in crowded buses, hanging out of buses,” Bengali said. “By the time they reached their office, their mood was as crumpled as their clothes.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/a-startling-sight-in-pakistan-fast-affordable-air-conditioned-buses/2015/06/09/cd735702-0df3-11e5-a0fe-dccfea4653ee_story.html

Riaz Haq said...

#Lahore metro train: #China to provide $1.63 billion loan | Business Recorder http://www.brecorder.com/market-data/stocks-a-bonds/0:/1249721:lahore-metro-train-china-to-provide-$1-63-billion-loan/ …

China will provide a loan of $1.626 billion to Pakistan for Lahore Orange Line Metro Train Project, informed sources told Business Recorder. According to sources, Pakistan and China have reached a consensus on the loan amount at a mutually agreed composite interest rate. The officials of the two countries discussed the financial components of the project during the fifth Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) held on November 12, 2015 in Karachi.

According to documents available with Business Recorder, the loan agreement will be finalized subject to approval by competent authorities in the two countries with a view to ensuring the agreed timelines for implementation of the project. The JCC also agreed to explore other alternate financing mechanisms for future CPEC projects. It was proposed that the relevant stakeholders in China and Pakistan should come up with concrete proposals for approval by JCC in consultation with one another.

About Gwadar Port, the documents further revealed that both sides agreed that the meeting of Gwadar Joint Working Group (JWG) should be held at an early date so that projects and other cooperation initiatives are expedited in a systematic way. JCC noted that the issues relating to finalization of bids for the two big projects should be resolved on an urgent basis so that the progress of two small infrastructure projects in Gwadar, ie, East Bay Expressway (EBE) on interest free loan basis and New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) on grant basis are not delayed. The Pakistani side requested that the two small projects should be unbundled from the two big projects and the Chinese side should complete review of the project documents as early as possible and nominate the company in case of NGIA and allow the Pakistani side to continue with the ongoing bidding process for EBE.

Both sides agreed that water- and energy-related projects should be given top priority and processed in a speedy manner by the respective working groups. The Pakistani side requested the Chinese side to fast track the financing for a technical & vocational institute at Gwadar; and the two countries agreed to sign the development of "Gwadar smart port city" master plan at the earliest.

Pakistan suggested that the following projects to be included in the second phase of CPEC list: (i) Solid Waste Management System including Recycling Plant for Gwadar City; (ii) Intercept Drain for Flood Protection and Storm Water Drainage System for Gwadar City; and (iii) Digitization of Land Record of GDA Master Plan (GIS based).

Both sides agreed to support and explore potential business opportunities in China and Pakistan with specific reference to CPEC development initiative. The Pakistani side suggested holding Chinese and Pakistan Products International Trade Expo annually in Gwadar Free Zone to promote its status as an international mall.

Riaz Haq said...

#Japan's #JICA offers to finance #Karachi #KCR mega project for #Metro mass transit. #Pakistan http://www.brecorder.com/top-news/pakistan/276589-japan-offers-financial-support-for-kcr-mega-project.html …

The Japanese government is ready to fund the revival of Karachi Circular Railways (KCR) project in port city of Karachi, Japan's Economic and Development Counsellor in Pakistan, Takashi Harada said on Tuesday.

He said, "it is a mega project of a mega city and Japanese government is still positive for it."

Talking to APP here, Takashi Harada said, his government is positive to support and finance this project.

"We are discussing relocation of people with the government of Sindh province," he said and added, "We need mega support and mega facilitation from the concerned departments for carrying out this project."

It may be mentioned here that making operational the KCR would help in mitigating the sufferings of millions of Karachi commuters as there is huge demand of urban transport in the mega city of Pakistan.

Encroachments patronized by land mafia have been considered a major hurdle in the revival of KCR, but now the railway ministry has allocated 250 acres of land to shift all encroachments from the route of KCR and resettle the squatters on this land.

The revival of KCR would be a gift for Karachiites by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

This may be noted that the KCR has a total route length of 43.24 km out of which 15.68 km is on ground, 23.86km elevated and 2.28km in trench with a 1.42km bridge in between.

The total number of stations would be 24 including 10 on ground, 12 elevated and 2 trench stations. The system would use electric powered trains.

The project will be run by Karachi Urban Transport Corporation (KUTC) as a public private partnership project under technical assistance from JICA.

The city of Karachi has seven industrial zones which were playing important role in the national economy.

This project would provide more job opportunities to people and their standard of life would rise with the additional income.