It is indeed a privilege for me to serve as Chairman Karachi Port Trust. Being a premier port of Pakistan, Karachi Port is often termed as Gateway to Pakistan. Seaports are the cheapest mode of transportation available to the trade community and they are lifeline for any global economy.From the heritage perspective, Karachi Port Trust (KPT) has a significance of having more than a century old history at its back. Taking retrospective view of its rich history, the port’s importance as natural harbour becomes more evident. And since Pakistan’s independence, Karachi Port has remained hub of national maritime activities.
We have been dot on to achieve all our milestones as Trust for we have a unique blend of collective work culture which enabled us to succeed in realizing our goals and ambitions. Our growth has remained steady over the years and our policies well directed to facilitate the trade community as well as the shipping lines calling at Karachi Port. With passage of time, the vessels have grown to become of enormous sized, which has forced ports to facilitate them on berths having 16 – 18 meters depths. KPT also felt the same pressure dredging the existing channel of Karachi Port alone would not have solved the problem as it was not possible to increase the channel breadth. Large vessel requires large turning basins to turn around which was also not there in Karachi Port channel. This led to the establishment of Deepwater Container Port at Keamari Groyne, curving to the eastern side and touching the shores of Clifton, to facilitate handling of new PANAMAX vessels requiring berths of 16 – 18 meters depths with ample turning basin space. Transhipment hub that we have envisioned to become was also not possible without these berths.
Looking at the prevailing situation from the perspective of CPEC agreement signed between Pakistan and China, was additionally a source of motivation for us to go ahead with our port expansion projects as well as the acquisition of latest port handling technologies. Fruition of these projects will pave way for KPT to increase its productivity of cargo handling, especially the transit transhipment cargo, while remaining focussed on global advancements taking place in container throughput. The container throughput is gaining momentum every year and offers lucrative prospects to us too. KPT is already handling bulk of the container freight through its existing private container terminals, the KICT and the PICT, and now with the SAPT on board at Deepwater Container Port, our eyes well poised to capture the regional container freight markets. KPT offers lucrative prospects to the private sector for investments. In the wake of global landlord port phenomenon, private sector has been encouraged to become port operators. This has happened in the past and we would like to see that to continue in future too when we construct dry bulk and container terminals.
KPT has also initiated to carryout feasibility study for port connectivity prject under public private partnership arrangement. We have plans in the next phase to build Harbour Crossing Bridge in public private partnership which will be linked with the Cargo Village and industrial Park, another capital intensive mega project of KPT, and thereafter with the motorway “M-10” and Liyari Expressway via Manora and KNB. KPT has kept 1300 acres of area that will be createdin western backwaters for the construction of Cargo Village where all types of cargoes be provided the storage, stuffing and de-stuffing facilities through acquisition of latest equipment and technologies. This will ultimately resolve the backup area problems of KPT.
We have already crossed the 50 million tonnes cargo handling barrier and our next target is 100 million tonnes cargo handling barrier. Taking cognizance from changes taking both at the national and global arena, I foresee a vibrant future for KPT. Our targets are fixed to become transhipment hub of regional ports due to our geostrategic presence. It will surely be a win-win situation for us; perhaps time unveils the same soon.