Pakistan gets first ever E-Beam facility to jack-up exports

Sameer Nazir
KARACHI:
Al-Technique Corporation of Pakistan (ATCOP) and Marine Group of Companies (MGC) have entered into a joint venture agreement to establish the first E-Beam facility at Karachi for irradiation of food items, surgical instruments and gemstones etc. This state of the art facility will enhance exports of fresh fruits and vegetables through decontamination and extension of their shelf lives.
Although other methods of irradiation are being phased, most of the importing countries have specified E-Beam irradiation for goods export to their countries.
FDA, WHO and IAEA has already approved the E-Beam technology for the fruits and pharmaceuticals products. The facility will be Pakistan’s first state of the art modern infrastructure of its kind in Pakistan to help benefit the existing exports but also to open further avenues of exports for the country.
ATCOP, a technology driven organization, working with a vision to provide a commercial platform to the internally developed technologies by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission to Industries and entrepreneurs of the country.
ATCOP has been contributing to the nation through its expertise in the fields of Gama irradiation of food items, surgical instruments andgemstones through PARAS Food and PARAS for last 25 years. SOILCON, a company of ATCOP is one of the leading companies for Geo Technical Investigation in Pakistan and has carried out projects of national importance.
Agro Laser Project (ALP), another company of ATCOP has facilitated the farmers through its equipment and expertise in laser based leveling of the fields thereby saving the wastage of water. Other ventures/projects of ATCOP includes but not limited to PCR Labs, which provides diagnostic services to the patients and HS Vaccine; an indigenously developed animal vaccine to support local economy at grass root level.
MGC has been in the business of providing cargo handling, shipping and logistics services for over 50 years to the national trade of Pakistan. MGC has successfully developed, operated and managed a number of companies including one of its flagship company Pakistan International Container Terminal Limited (PICT), which is listed on Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) and is the 3rd largest container terminal operator in Pakistan, with an initial Project Cost of $100 million.
The current market capitalization of PICT is approximately $300 million against the paid up capital of $12 million, showing the continued profitable growth in the business and the confidence of the investors. Pakistan International Bulk Terminal Limited (PIBT) is another flagship project of MGC and is also listed on the KSE.
PIBT will construct the Pakistan’s first state-of-the-art mechanized bulk terminal for the handling of coal, cement and clinker.
The PIBT project is currently under the construction and development phase and is expected to start its commercial operations by 2016.
Despite being in the construction phase, the current market capitalization of PIBT is approximately USD 270m against the par value of USD 75m. Through this Joint Venture, the Marine Group will add another segment of service to Pakistan’s exports. One of the significant factors responsible for limiting Pakistan’s exports to traditional markets is the lack of knowledge and technical ability to comply with Sanitary and Phyto – Sanitary (SPS) requirements of the importing countries.
The joint venture will ensure smooth sailing through all applicable standards and protocols of importing countries and will ensure minimizing the incidences of the rejection of shipments and bulk treatment of the fruits and vegetables without delay.