At the onset of new millennium the Karachi Port was operating with old and fragmented 31 berths but undertook a massive refurbishing exercise entailing reconstruction of eight berths at East Wharves to 16 metres depth for setting up modern dry bulk terminals.
It also extended the port’s back-up areas and initiated development of exclusive port traffic corridors and reconstruction of repair berths and engineering facilities at Manora. Along with carrying out physical improvements the port also brought about a fundamental change in trade facilitation practices by employing computerized handling of cargo operations and interlinkage with users coupled with introduction of vessel traffic management system including radar for vessel guidance and swift disposal of documentation.
Ever mindful of the ever changing practices of maritime trade and in the spirit of new millennium, Karachi Port appropriately devised a comprehensive 25 years development plan aimed at transforming it into an outstanding maritime resource of the region. Accordingly Karachi Port has embarked upon a modern state-of-the-art Deep Water Container Transshipment hub with an 18 metres deep ten berth enclave capable of handling mega container ships of 150,000 deadweight tones (DWT). The work on this project has commenced and would soon be completed. In the second phase, construction of a 1300 acre cargo village in Western backwaters is planned that will operate as an intermediate receipt, storage, stuffing, destuffing and distribution centre for all types of dry cargo. A harbor crossing connecting the deep draft container terminal with cargo village and a bridge of 300 meters span and 69 meters clearance for ship movement and causeways connecting Cargo Village and Manora Sandspit, form the next phase of the development plan.
Since the last two decades Karachi Port has consistently maneuvered to become a land lord port whereby the Board of Trustees will be responsible for the infrastructure while all other activities will be leased out or privatized. Consequently nine berths were leased out to private sector on BOT basis where two modern container terminals, PICT and KICT, are successfully functioning. More terminals are being developed for the handling of dry bulk, general cargo, containers, liquid bulk and passenger traffic. The dry dock and engineering facilities at Manora and the tuggage and pilotage along with other associated support activities will be gradually leased out to the private sector in due course of time.
A veritable need of port operation is presence and viability of unhindered access and swift movement of cargo through road links and keeping this in view the Karachi Port initiated a series of road network improvement plans comprising of KPT Interchange at Korangi Road, improvement of road from Mai Kolachi to Submarine Chowk including Clifton Underpass, improvement of MT Khan Road from Jinnah Bridge to PIDC Bridge and improvement of MA Jinnah Road from Keamari to Jinnah Bridge.
As a mark of acknowledging the strong bonds between the Port and the city, KPT duly initiated, in conjunction with private sector, multi million dollar real estate ventures that include food court, Port Grand, at Native Jetty and Jinnah Rotary Bridge and is planning to build Kolachi Enclave, a 77-story tower at Mai Kolachi reclamation.
With new addition of latest pilot boats, passenger boats, night navigation equipment and pollution control centre Karachi Port is widely rated as a modern, competitive and user friendly port. With further development work on the anvil it is a matter of time when Karachi Port will become the primary hub of maritime activity in the region.
I am positive that the devotion and dedication of the officers and employees of Karachi Port Trust will ensure achievement of all goals. I expect that Karachi Port will keep on growing from strength to strength and will excel in the national duty it has been given to perform.