Ports and Harbor

Ports and Harbor

Barbarikon was the name of a sea port near the modern-day city of Karachi, Pakistan, important in the Hellenistic era in Indian Ocean trade. It is mentioned briefly in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea:

"This river [the Indus] has seven mouths, very shallow and marshy, so that they are not navigable, except the one in the middle; at which by the shore, is the market-town, Barbaricum. Before it there lies a small island, and inland behind it is the metropolis of Scythia, Minnagara; it is subject to Parthian princes who are constantly driving each other out." Periplus, Chap. 38

"The ships lie at anchor at Barbaricum, but all their cargoes are carried up to the metropolis by the river, to the King. There are imported into this market a great deal of thin clothing, and a little spurious; figured linens, topaz, coral, storax, frankincense, vessels of glass, silver and gold plate, and a little wine. On the other hand there are exported costus, bdellium, lycium, nard, turquoise, lapis lazuli, Seric skins, cotton cloth, silk yarn, and indigo. And sailors set out thither with the Indian Etesian winds, about the, month of July, that is Epiphi: it is more dangerous then, but through these winds the voyage is more direct, and sooner completed." Periplus Chap. 39
It is also a Greek version of the term Barbaricum, designating areas outside civilization and/or the Roman Empire.

Gwadar port is located at Gwadar city at the entrance of the Persian Gulf on Arabian Sea and about 460 km west of Karachi in Balochistan, Pakistan.
Gwadar port, is a deep-sea warm water port, being constructed in two phases with heavy investment from China. Gwadar has had immense geostrategic significance on many accounts. In 1993, Pakistan started technical and financial feasibilities for the development of Gwadar port. The Gwadar port project started on 22 March 2002. The first phase was completed in December 2005.

Gawadar port was inaugurated on March 19, 2007 after the completion of second development phase. Gawadar port is Pakistan's first deep port that has the capacity to serve virtually all sorts of cargo ships of any size.

Port Operations
Port of Singapore took over Gwadar Port by the end of January 2007. Port of Singapore was the highest bidder for the Gwadar port after DP world backed out of the bidding process. Originally, Chairman of Dubai Ports World, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, who met President Pervez Musharraf on May 5th 2006, expressed a strong hope for management of facilities at the strategic Gwadar deep sea port and development of infrastructure in the southern port city and elsewhere in Pakistan.But They took the decision not to bid after India’s National Security Council had voiced concerns about DP World’s ventures in India, alongside its Pakistani plans and Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem assured the Indians their pull-out was well considered and India need not have any security concerns.The port will now be in competition with the likes of Chabahar, a port in Iran, as well as Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Gwadar Fish Harbour is located in Gwadar, Balochistan, Pakistan.


Korangi Harbour, in East Karachi, is a relatively new harbour, originally built to take pressure off the Karachi Fish Harbour. It was also to serve the boom in fisheries production as a result of expansion offshore, which never occurred locally, and for large trawlers and processing vessels.


Ormara is a port city located in Balochistan. It is located 450 Km west of Karachi on the Arabian Sea. Jinnah naval base of Pakistan Navy is also located at Ormara. Ormara airport is located at 25° 16' 29N 64° 35' 10E. The population of Ormara is estimated to be over 40,000 in 2005. Over 99% is Muslim. The vast majority of the population of Ormara is Baloch.

Pasni is a fishing port and major town in Balochistan, Pakistan. It is located on the Makran coast on Arabian Sea about 300 Km from Karachi. Pasni is also sub-division of Gwadar district.

The Port Muhammad Bin Qasim is a port in Karachi, located at 24°46′00″N, 67°20′00″E (24.766667, 67.333333).

It was constructed in the late 1970s to relieve congestion at Karachi Port. Port Qasim was named after the Muslim general Muhammad bin Qasim who captured the area around 712 CE. The port was developed close to the Pakistan Steel Mills complex near the Indus River delta. Port Qasim's residential area is a neighbourhood of Bin Qasim Town of Karachi.

Port Qasim is managed by Port Qasim Authority. Port Qasim is Pakistan's second busiest port, handling about 35% of the nation's cargo (17 million tons per annum). It is located in an old channel of the Indus River at a distance of 35 kilometers east of Karachi city centre. The total area of the port comprises 1,000 acres (4 km²) with an adjacent 11,000 acre (45 km²) industrial estate. The approach to the port is along a 45-kilometre long Navigation Channel which provides safe navigation for vessels up to 75,000 DWT. The geographic position of the Port places it in close proximity to major shipping routes. One of its major advantages is the proximity to national transport facilities - 15 kilometers from the Pakistan National Highway, 14 kilometers from the National Railway network through six railway tracks located immediately behind the berths and 22 kilometers from Jinnah International Airport.

The Port has nine cargo-handling berths: -
Multipurpose Terminal with four multi-purpose berths each of 200 meters length.
Qasim International Container Terminal with two berths each of 300 meters length.
Engro Vopak Chemical Terminal with one berth.
Fotco Oil Terminal with one berth but the potential for four additional berths.
Iron Ore and Coal Berth (279 metres long) for Pakistan Steel Mills.
Future expansion of the port includes the deepening and widening of the navigation channel and the establishment of a liquid cargo terminal, a liquefied petroleum gas terminal, grain handling and storage facilities, a textile complex and a desalination plant.

Environmental Concerns
The area around the port includes several mangrove forests which are constantly under threat from human activities.

The beach immediately west of the navigation channel was the scene of a major oil spillage when the Greek-registered Tasman Spirit ran aground in August 2003. The environmental impact included large numbers of dead fish and turtles and a key mangrove forest, as well as dozens of people suffering nausea.


Keti Bandar is a port at Arabian Sea in Thatta District, Sindh, Pakistan.
Keti Bandar was one of the richest ports of the region. The residents of Keti Bandar proudly claim that this port granted a loan to Karachi Municipal Committee during nineteenth century. This is no more in operation since 1935. Now not even the ruins of the port are visible due to sea erosion. Most of the inhabitants believe that Keti Bandar is actually the port of Debal where Muhammad bin Qasim along with his army arrived through ships from Iraq. Dibla tribe settled at Keti Bandar which justifies their claim to some extents.

The ports of coastal belt of Thatta are Keti Bandar, Bagan, Kharo Chhan etc. and are located 160 kilometers south east from Karachi.


Jiwani port is located along Arabian Sea in Gwadar District, Balochistan, Pakistan. It is located near the Iranian border. It has a population of 25,000 and it is expected to become a major commercial center in concert with the development of the port of Gwadar located nearly 80 Km to the east.

Jiwani is located at the eastern end of Gwadar Bay, which is shared between Iran and Pakistan. The area around the bay includes an important mangrove forest extending across the international border, and is an important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, especially the endangered Olive Ridley and Green Turtles. Plans to grant fishing concessions and offshore drilling rights are potentially a threat to the wildlife of the area.
Jiwani holds strategic importance in the region, located immediately adjacent to the shipping lanes to and from the Persian Gulf. This is the main reason that the town hosts a small naval base and an airport with a 5,500-foot runway.


The Port of Karachi is Pakistan's largest and busiest seaport, handling about 60% of the nation's cargo (25 million tons per annum). The port is located at 24°50′00″N, 66°58′30″E (24.840000, 66.980000) between the Karachi towns of Kiamari and Saddar, close to the heart of old Karachi. The port is located close to the main business district of Karachi and several industrial areas. The geographic position of Karachi places the port in close proximity to major shipping routes such as the Straits of Hormuz. The administration of the port is carried out by the Karachi Port Trust which was established in the nineteenth century.


The port comprises a deep natural harbour with an 11-km long approach channel which provides safe navigation for vessels up to 75,000 DWT. The main areas of port activity are two wharves – East Wharf with seventeen vessel berths and West Wharf with thirteen vessel berths. The maximum depth alongside the berths is currently 11.3 meters. The two wharves extend in opposite directions along the upper harbour – the West Wharf southwest from Saddar town and the East Wharf northeast from Kimari Island.

The flow of cargo to and from the port is hampered by severe congestion in the harbour with several other maritime facilities located close to the port. Adjacent to the West Wharf is the Karachi Fishing Harbour, which is administered separately from the port and is the base for a large fleet of several thousand fishing vessels. The West Wharf also hosts a ship repair facility and shipyard and a naval dockyard at the tip of the wharf, while to the south of the port are the Karachi Naval Base and the Kimari Boat Club. The Port of Karachi also faces competition from a new private terminal located 5 kilometres away in the larger harbour west of the port. In recent years the federal government has attempted to alleviate the increased congestion in the harbour by constructing a second port in Karachi thirty kilometers east at Port Qasim and a third major port at Gwadar about 650 kilometers west of Karachi. The Karachi Fishing Harbour has been upgraded and a second fishing harbour is located 18 kilometres away at Korangi. The transfer of some naval vessels to the new naval base at Ormara has brought about further reductions in congestion.

Ancient History
The history of the port is intertwined with that of the city of Karachi. Several ancient ports have been attributed in the area including Krokola, Morontobara (Woman's Harbour) (mentioned by Nearchus), Barbarikon (the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea) and Debal (a city captured by the Muslim general Muhammad bin Qasim in 712 CE). There is a reference to the early existence of the port of Karachi in the Umdah, by the Arab navigator Suleiman al Mahri (AD 1511), who mentions Ras al Karazi and Ras Karashi while describing a route along the coast from Pasni to Ras Karashi. Karachi is also mentioned in the sixteenth century Turkish treatise Muhit (The Ocean) by the Ottoman captain Sidi Ali Reis. The Muhit is a compilation of sailing directions for a voyage from the Portuguese island of Diu to Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, warning sailors about whirlpools and advises them to seek safety in Kaurashi harbour if they found themselves drifting dangerously.

There is a legend of a prosperous coastal town called Kharak in the estuary of the Hub River (west of modern Karachi) in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. In 1728 heavy rains silted up the harbour and resulted in the merchants of Kharak relocating to the area of modern Karachi. In 1729, they built a new fortified town called Kolachi (sometimes known as Kalachi-jo-Kun and Kolachi-jo-Goth) on high ground north of Karachi bay, surrounded by a 16-foot high mud and timber-reinforced wall with gun-mounted turrets and two gates. The gate facing the sea was called Kharadar (salt gate), and the gate facing the Layari River was called Mithadar (sweet gate). The modern neighbourhoods around the location of the gates are called Mithadar and Kharadar. Surrounded by mangrove swamps to the east, the sea to the southwest, and the Layari River to the north, the town was well defended and engaged in a profitable trade with Muscat and Bahrain.

From 1729 to 1783 the strategic location of Kolachi saw the town change hands several times between the Khans of Kalat and the rulers of Sindh. In 1783, after two prolonged sieges the town fell to the Talpur Mirs of Sindh, who constructed a fort mounted with cannons on Manora Island at the harbour entrance. The prominence of the port attracted the British, who opened a factory in Karachi at the end of the eighteenth century but disagreements with the Mirs on trade tariffs led to the closure of the factory. The British were concerned about Russian expansion towards the Arabian Sea, so in 1839 they occupied Karachi and later the whole of the Sindh. The port served as a landing point for troops during the First Afghan War.

Modern History

The potential of Karachi as a natural harbour for the produce of the Indus basin led to rapid development. The Indus Steam Flotilla and the Orient Inland Steam Navigation Company were formed to transport cotton and wheat down the Indus river to Karachi. A number of British companies opened offices and warehouses in Karachi and the population increased rapidly. By 1852, Karachi was an established city with a population of 14,000 and a prosperous overseas trade. The modern port began to take shape in 1854, when the main navigation channel was dredged and a mole or causeway was constructed to link the main harbour with the rest of the city. This was followed by construction of Manora breakwater, Kiamari Groyne, the Napier Mole Bridge and the Native Jetty. The construction of the wharves started in 1882, and by 1914 the East Wharf and the Napier Mole Boat Wharf were complete while 1927 and 1944, the West Wharf, the lighterage berths and the ship-repair berths were constructed between 1927 and 1944.

From the 1861 the Sindh Railway line connected Karachi to the cotton and wheat producing areas of the Sindh and northern British India and by 1899 Karachi was the largest wheat and cotton exporting port in India. The period between 1856 and 1872 saw a marked increase in trade, especially during the American Civil War when cotton from Sindh replaced American cotton as a raw material in the British textile industry and the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Another major export was oil brought by rail from the Sui region in Balochistan.

Karachi's importance as a gateway to India increased in 1911 when the capital of British India was moved to Delhi. The city was an important military base during the First World War (1914-18) because it was the first Indian port of call for ships coming through the Suez Canal and was the gateway to Afghanistan and the Russian Empire. In 1936 the Sindh district of the Bombay Presidency was reorganised as a new province with Karachi as the capital instead of the traditional capital of Hyderabad. This led to new public services and buildings, thus increasing its population and importance.

Karachi was again a military base and port for supplies to the Russian front during the Second World War (1939-1945). In 1947, Karachi became the capital of the new nation of Pakistan, resulting in a growth in population as it absorbed hundreds of thousands of refugees. Although the capital moved to Islamabad in 1959, Karachi remains the economic centre of Pakistan, accounting for the largest proportion of national GDP based in part on the commerce conducted through the Port of Karachi and Port Qasim. Post Independence, the port witnessed tremendous growth as a result of being the largest port in Pakistan. The port was targeted by the Indian Navy (codenamed Operation Trident) during the hostilities of the 1971 war.

Port Facilities
The port has thirty dry cargo berths, three liquid cargo-handling berths (oil piers), two ship repair jetties and a shipyard and engineering facility. These are arranged in two main wharves - the West Wharf and the East Wharf each including a container terminal: -
Karachi International Container Terminal (KICT) opened in 1996 at West Wharf berths 28-30. It has a handling capacity of 300,000 TEUs per annum and handles container ships up to 11-metre draught. The total quay length is 600 metres divided into two container berths. The terminal is equipped with three Panamax cranes and one post-Panamax crane.
Pakistan International Container Terminal (PICT) in 2002 at East Wharf berths 6-9. It has a handling capacity of 350,000 TEUs per annum and handles container ships up to 11.5 metre draught. The total quay length is 600 metres divided into two container berths. The terminal is equipped with two Panamax cranes.
KICT and PICT have a nearby competitor in the privately operated Al-Hamd International Container Terminal (AICT), which opened in 2001 at a site west of the Layari River. AICT is situated next to the Sindh Industrial Trading Estate, the new truck stand at Hawkes Bay Road and close to the RCD Highway, Super Highway and the future Layari Bypass.
Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works carries out shipbuilding and repair for both commercial and military customers on a 29-hectare (70 acres) site at the West Wharf. The facilities include a large shipbuilding hall, three shipbuilding berths, two dry-docks, three foundries.
Further deepening of the port has been planned by the Karachi Port Trust in order to enhance facilities. The channel is being dredged initially to 13.5 metres deep to cater for 12 metre draught vessels at all tides. At Kiamari Groyne, located at the outer tip of the harbour, dredging will be to 16.5 metres to enable vessels up to 300 metres long to dock. The Karachi Port Trust also plans to develop a trans-shipment terminal at Kiamari Groyne which should minimise turn around time for larger vessels.
Other projects to expand the port include:
An increase the handling capacity of KICT from 300,000 TEUs to 400,000 TEUs per annum
Two new berths at KICT with 14 metres depth alongside and an additional 100,000 m² terminal/stacking area
Installation of modern facilities at PICT (completed in April, 2004)
A new bulk cargo terminal at East Wharf
Reconstruction of the oldest oil pier to allow berthing of 90,000 DWT tankers
A new 100-acre cargo village to cater for containers and general and bulk cargo
Reconstruction of the 100-year old NMB Wharf to enhance the berthing of passenger vessels
The purchase of a new dredger, two hopper barges, two harbour tugs, two water barges, an anchor hoist vessel, two pilot boats, and a dredger tender
A new desalination plant to address the city's water shortage problem
A 500-foot high Port Tower for commercial and recreational use including a revolving restaurant
The construction of a 500-acre Port Town with 13,000 homes for port workers at nearby Hawkes Bay
A new Port Club at Chinna Creek adjacent to the East Wharf
Environmental ConcernsThe area around the harbour includes several mangrove forests which are constantly under threat from human activities. To the east of the port lies Chinna Creek, which covers about 6 km² and is dotted with mangrove islands. To the southwest of the port is another much larger mangrove forest in the bay formed by several islands and Manora breakwater; the river Layari flows into this bay, bringing waste from upstream suburbs.
The beach immediately east of the harbour was the scene of a significant oil spillage when the Greek-registered Tasman Spirit ran aground in August 2003. The environmental impact included large numbers of dead fish and turtles and damage to a key mangrove forest, as well as dozens of people suffering nausea.

Karachi Dock Labour Board

The Karachi Dock Labour Board (KDLB) is responsible for labour relations between employees and the Karachi Port Trust. In October 2006, the Pakistan government has decided to close down Karachi Dock Labour Board by December this year as part of its landlord port strategy and under the National Trade Corridor (NTC) programme. The closure of KDLB would cost around Rs 4.2 billion ($70 million) to the national exchequer.

The World Bank in its report suggested, in case of closure the KDLB would have to pay about Rs one million to each employee. There are about 3895 employees and officers on its payroll. Of which about 3673 are dockworkers; 185 staff members; and 37 are officers. The total payoffs calculated by the bank would be around Rs 4.2 billion.

Karachi Fish Harbour is in West Karachi near the main port. It is relatively well supplied with facilities, with two large auction halls which whilst not ideal could be made presentable at little cost, a smaller improved auction hall for export fish, a landing area for fish intended for fishmeal, one 40 ton flake ice machine (most ice used is block ice and bought in by truck from outside the harbour area), an unloading wharf next to the market hall and export processing factories. Boat building facilities and a slipway are on the creek side of the harbour.


The Port Fountain or Karachi Port Trust Fountain is located next to the Northern rock of a series known as Oyster Rocks, off the Karachi Harbour. The fountain is the worlds second tallest fountain and rises to height of 620 feet when operating at full force. Ever since its inauguration by the President of Pakistan on January 15, 2006. The fountain has been attracting visitors from all over Pakistan. The fountain structure and platform of 135 sq meters (15m x 9m) is on 16 piles 18 meters deep. Two 835-horsepower turbine pumps deliver nearly 2000 liters of sea water per second at a velocity of 70 meter per second through specially designed 8 inch nozzles. The fountain constructed at a cost of PKR 320 million.

Because the fountain rises so high into the air, it is quite easily seen from many locations of the city. Many high rise apartments, buildings and surroundings overlook the fountain throughout the community at the beach. The column of water can be seen from miles at sea. The fountain is located 1.4 km away from the beach to avoid spraying neighborhood homes. Maximum vapours travel up to a radius of 500 feet around the fountain. Eighteen flood lights of 400 watts illuminate the fountain at night.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for Providing this knowledge regarding Pakistan and foreign sources.This is now offensive webpage for every person to get information.
    Regards,fahad from


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