Daewoo Making Inroads in Pakistan’s Public Transportation System

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Although over two dozen South Korean companies have engaged in different sectors in Pakistan for years, including construction of roads, bridges, tunnels, and power plants, Daewoo is the only corporation facilitating the Pakistani people through the public transportation sector.
Daewoo Express Limited, having had a significant presence in Pakistan’s public transportation for the past two decades, is now about to make yet another stride, as it has offered to operate inter-city buses in Karachi, the capital of Sindh Province located at the Arabian Sea coast and the country’s largest city with a population of over 16 million.
The company submitted a proposal to the provincial transportation department of Sindh regarding envisages operating around 300 buses on the city’s five major routes, which, according to official studies, requires at least 6000 buses to meet the shortage and replace obsolete buses to support efficient commuting. Currently, with an entire fleet comprising of more than 350 buses, Daewoo Express operates nationwide from 58 terminals and sub-terminals in Sindh, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhaw provinces, touching more than 60 cities and plying on all major highways and motorways across the country. Over 6.6 million people travel on Daewoo buses annually. Daewoo Express is the first and the biggest foreign investment Company with an advanced and organized transportation system in Pakistan. It is the only transportation company to have a nationwide network with various international trade links. Being a transportation service provider, the company owns a large fleet of buses, technically advanced workshops to maintain the fleet for the safety of passengers, state-of-the-art terminals, training institutes for drivers, and mechanical staff.
Daewoo Express has been rendering transportation facilities since its inception in 1997 to the people of Pakistan. It is appreciated by the masses as well as by the local governments of Pakistan for its consistent success.
In fact, Daewoo Express is a role model and a trendsetter private transportation company in Pakistan with some of the largest infrastructural setup. It uses the newest IT tools to satisfy customers and passengers. Recently, Daewoo introduced a system to book and purchase one’s preferred seat through a mobile application without having to personally visit the Daewoo Bus Terminal. Furthermore, the company has been engaged in talks with the Sindh provincial government to launch the intercity bus service under the project “Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Intercity Bus Service” since 2015 when they inked the Concession Agreement as part of a public-private initiative. However, following the concession agreement, the project required a financial close which is still in process. The Sindh government and Daewoo mutually agreed to carry out a symbolic project launching ceremony during the last quarter of 2015 to mark their historic intercity bus agreement. Daewoo Express had gone on to allocate some buses from its existing fleet to run so that a portion of the planned service operation could start prior to a financial close, however, this certain initiative did not follow through either.
But now, the new provincial Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, who assumed office about one and a half year earlier, came emphasizing the importance of the public transportation sector and approved PKR 195 million (roughly 1.732 million USD) under the Inter-City Bus project to start 32 buses initially on one major route, and in the second phase, run buses on the originally planned 5 major routes.
The provincial Transportation Minister, Syed Nasir Shah, told newsmen recently that the provincial government has earmarked such a big amount to place them at Sindh Modarba Limited, a newly founded bank operating under the Islamic system to support subsidy requirements of the project over a period of five years. There is a debt equity ratio—15 percent of transporters’ equity and 15 percent equity to be shared by the Sindh government in the form of an interest-free loan.
Nasir Shah said that the transportation department received the proposal from Daewoo Express Limited which covers inducting 288 vehicles on five routes with an average fleet of 50 vehicles per route. The Chief Minister was eager to inaugurate this bus service on February 15, 2018, but again it was delayed due to certain hindering factors. “Currently, several road projects underway in Karachi including the elevated ways for rapid bus service are the main reasons of delay in launching the new bus service” said an official of the transportation department. He continued that the Chief Minister directed the executing agencies to expedite work being done on the roads so that the intercity busy service could be launched at the earliest moment. “The city will have a new bus service with a big fleet of Daewoo buses within the next two months,” the official said.
On March 1, the Chief Minister again held a meeting with relevant officials to review the progress of road projects. His spokesman, Rasheed Channa, told The AsiaN and Magazine N, “The provincial government is anxiously awaiting the completion of elevated highways and other road projects to launch the new bus service.” Two of the 5 major bus service systems have been named the Orange Line and Green Line and are being funded by the provincial and federal governments respectively. “At the outset, eighty buses will operate on the Orange Line and forty on the Green Line. The number of buses will be gradually increased,” Channa said, adding, “But, before the launch of the Orange and Green Lines, Daewoo has been asked to start operating no less than twenty buses within the month, at Shahrah-e-Faisal, the major road connecting the city center to the international airport.

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