Research Analyst
Mar 7 - 13, 2011

Karachi Port Trust (KPT) is regarded as the nation's lifeline. KPT is fully alive to the global security environments and is proactively poised to meet future formidable security challenges.

The goal of KPT is to provide secure environment in which trade would be conducted with high assurance and equilibrium of security and safety with efficiency.

Karachi Port with regard to security has taken a giant leap forward in the area of technology and sophistication. The security has been totally revamped with the induction of port security force.

KPT after having evaluated the global security environments has embarked upon revolutionizing security on the port introducing state of art security infrastructure as per requirements of IMO and implementation of ISPS code in real spirit.

KPT has installed cutting edge Vessel Tracking System in the port to monitor vessels in the port area/ territorial waters/harbour. The system receives vessel information transmitted by them and displays their position on a shore based computer workstation on an electronic chart. User can select both the desired areas and amount of details required: system automatically logs the reports, records latitude and longitude, speed and course of all tracked vehicles. Historical track information can be recalled and printed out either as chart or database report in real time along with history of the track. VTS has greatly helped in managing vessel traffic diversity on the port.

The state of the art Karachi port operation centre (KPOC) has also been established at a strategic location having panoramic view of the port to supervise, monitor, and control activities. The centre is fully computerized and all the reports and returns are electronically generated. Intranet, internet and direct communication facilities help in making prompt and real time decision making.

KPOC serves as a nerve centre and houses representatives of departments of the port. As the new generation of container ships comes on the drawing boards, Karachi port takes the initiative of bracing itself to handle and cater for fifth and sixth generation ships. This involves the development of a deepwater container port at Keamari Groyne, which is the natural choice for such a port.

Ten berths at 18m depth, with 5 km of quay wall have been planned. The project shall be carried out in phases and on public-private partnership (PPP) while the total cost of the project is US$1.6 billion. In Phase I, four berths with 1500 m quay wall is planned to be constructed. Project is scheduled for completion in 2013.

KPT handles 70 per cent of Pakistan's import and export trade. Port established an annual cargo handling record of over 38.7 million tons during 2008?09, showing a slight increased of 4.1 per cent over last years record cargo handling of 37.2 million tons. However, there had been a rise in activity during last fiscal years, showing remarkable increase in all types of cargo handling including bulk, break bulk and containers. During the first six months of the last fiscal year 2008-09, 20.5 million tones of cargo were handled.


The largest segment of the global shipping industry is international freight transport, occupying 69.1 per cent of industry revenue. This segment refers to the transportation of goods by sea between domestic and foreign ports. More than 80 per cent of goods traded between countries are transported by sea. Over 70 per cent of the world's merchant fleet (in terms of deadweight tons) are tankers and bulk carriers.

The world seaborne trade was nearly 7.7 billion tons in 2007. The rise in shipping activities is the result of the interplay of macroeconomic, microeconomic, and policy-oriented factors. The performance of the industry depends on the same broad factors that determine economic performance such as GDP, and the level of trade and growth within industries that use ships as a mode to transport cargo.

In 2009, the shipping industry entered rough waters with volumes of the most companies under pressure as a result of the global economic slowdown. The shipping industry cancelled ship orders, tonnage prices barely above or below break-even, and ports full of idle vessels. Freight rates in the major east-west trade lanes continue to be felled.

The shipping industry has traditionally faced less scrutiny over its environmental footprint than other forms of transport and remains an extremely carbon efficient means of transporting goods emissions per tonne transported are 10 times lower than for road transport and 100 times lower than for aviation. However, the industry transports 80 per cent of the world's traded goods and as a result its overall carbon footprint is larger than that of the much maligned aviation industry, accounting for around three per cent of global emissions.


The shipping industry in the private sector had a setback in 1974 due to nationalization. Thus, a healthy competition in shipping between public and private sector ended. The traditional ship owners disappeared from the scene.

In the country, shipping is a capital intensive industry and the government alone cannot meet this sector's requirements because of financial constraints and other development priorities. Considering this aspect, a number of incentives have been offered to encourage the participation of the private sector. A new merchant shipping policy should be formulated with the guidance and inputs of public and private sector experts as well as all stakeholders.