The import and export of Pakistan are mainly carried through Ocean transport.
Pakistan is started its life with a frail base in shipping sector.There were three old ships with a dead weight of 18,000 tons.Almost all the goods from foreign countries were brought on foreign ships and heavy drain of foreign exchange was taking place.The government therefore became a member of U.K.Continent Conference line .More than 40 ships began to operate.Further expansion of shipping enterprise was felt necessary.In 1963 a new shipping policy was adopted which among other things,sanctioned the purchase of 35 ships.During the same year National Shipping Corporation was established.Its ship began to operate on U.K.continent route and U.S.A. in 1964.In 1965,its ships started to go to Singapore,Hong Kong ,China and Japan.In 1966,Red sea and Persian Gulf areas were tapped.By 1970 the corporation had 31 vessels with dead weight of 336,931 tonnes.Besides there were 40 ships owned by other companies established in Pakistan.These 71 Pakistani ships were handling the entire interwing trade (East Pakistan-West Pakistan trade) and 14 % of the foreign sea-borne trade and could carry 6600 passengers.In 1974,th e private shipping companies were nationalized.To manage them Pakistan shipping corporation was established.In 1979,the two corporations were merged under the name of Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC).The PNSC’s development programme includes the acquisition of a bulk carrier for shipments of rock phosphate,an edible oil tanker for shipments of palm oil,four bulk carriers for shipments of iron ore and coal imported by Pakistan Steel and three container vessels for handling containerized general cargo trade.
At present there are 22 vessels owned by PNSC.The corporation has a dead weight of 352,716 tons.During the first half of the year ending December31,1991 the corporation handled 2.74 million freight tonnes of cargo as against 2.77 million freight tons during the previous-half year ending December 31,1990.
1. Karachi Port:
Located west of the Indus Delta on the Arabian Sea coast,Karachi Port has served Pakistan since its inception.Karachi is a natural harbour sheltered behind the island of Keamari and a break-water at Manora. Karachi,a major port by world standards,is Pakistan’s only large port.It has a vast hinterland comprising not merely Pakistan and that part of Kashmir which is not under indian occupation but also Afghanistan.The port has more than 25 berths,plus a petroleum dock.The East Wharf ,constructed over 50 years ago,has been modernized.The West Wharves and a dry dock for the construction and repair of ships have been built since independence.The ports dry general cargo handling capacity,though considerably increased in the past,is still less than the actual amount of cargo handled,the two respectively being C and over 14 million tons per annum.As a result,the harbour is very crowded,with most ships double-berthed,and long delays in entering the port are usual .Much has been done to improve the port in four projects .The fourth project of Karachi port included,among other works,the construction of 75,000 dead weight oil tanker berth.It has improve the old handling capacity of the port from 5 to 10 million tonnes per annum.A master plan had been prepared for the development of the port and the first set of 8 berths,with modern container terminals,was completed by 1987-88.The dry general cargo handling capacity of the port improved by 2 million tonnes.
During the first nine months of the Financial year ending March 1992,the Karachi port handled a cargo volume of 14.7 million tons (11 million tons of import and 3.7 million tons of export) ,which is 4.2% above the corresponding period of the previous year.
2. Port Mohammed Bin Qasim:
In view of the increasing work the Karachi Port had to perform,the necessity of a new port was felt.After examining a number of areas,finally a site for the new port was selected at Pilli Creek,close to Pakistan Steel Mill.In June 1973,Port Mohammed Bin Qasim Authority was established and the work on the port was started.Port Mohammed Bin Qasim,which is the first bulk,semi bulk and industrial port of the country is situated 53 kilometers south east of the Karachi Port.
Besides handling general cargo like rice,cement,fertilizers etc.the port will have special facilities for handling iron ore, coal and steel mill machinery.In the first phase the port shall have 8 berths and 12 more will be added in the second phase.Most of the work in phase 1 has been completed and the port has started functioning.
Cargo handled at Port Bin Qasim during July March 1991-92 was 5.768 million tonnes,including 5.152 million tonnes of import and 0.616 million tonnes of export goods.