Port Qasim

Coordinates: 24°46′N 67°20′E / 24.767°N 67.333°E / 24.767; 67.333
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Port Muhammad Bin Qasim
Port Qasim
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Country Pakistan
LocationKarachi-75020, Sindh
Coordinates24°46′N 67°20′E / 24.767°N 67.333°E / 24.767; 67.333
OpenedSeptember 1980[2]
Operated byPort Qasim Authority
Owned byMinistry of Ports and Shipping and Government of Pakistan
Type of harbourArtificial
Land area12,200 acres
No. of berths15
Employees2,000 (1,576 Staff and 279 Officers)
ChairmanRear Admiral (R) Syed Hasan Nasir Shah, HI(M)
Vessel arrivals1709 (FY 2020-21)[3]
Annual cargo tonnage58 million metric revenue tons including 21.62 million MT of dry cargo and 19.968 million MT of liquid cargo (FY 2020-21)
Annual container volume1,258,000 [TEU]s with tonnage of 16.405 million MT (FY 2020-21)
Tidal Variation0.5 to 3.5m (at channel mouth and port)[4]
Deadweight Tonnage75,000 DWT[5]
Ranking121st busiest container port (TEU Container Traffic) in 2007[6]
Map of Pakistan, showing Port Qasim and its sister ports of Karachi and Gwadar.

The Port Muhammad Bin Qasim (Urdu: محمد بن قاسم بندرگاہ Bandar-gāh Muhammad bin Qāsim), or Qasim Port Authority (Urdu: مقتدرہ قاسم بندرگاہ), also known as Port Qasim, is a deep-water seaport in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan, on the coastline of the Arabian Sea under the administrative control of the Secretary to the Government of Pakistan for Maritime Affairs. It is Pakistan's second busiest port, handling about 35% of the nation's cargo (17 million tons per annum). Port Qasim and Karachi Port, the busiest port of the country, together handle almost 90% of all external trade of Pakistan. The remaining maritime trade is routed through Gwadar Port.

The port encompasses a total area of 12,000 acres (49 km2) wherein many industrial zones operate. In addition to the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and KESC Bin Qasim Power Plant, around 80% of the Pakistan's automotive industry is located at Port Qasim. The port also provides direct waterfront access to two major nearby industrial areas, Export Processing Zone (Landhi) and Korangi Industrial Area. Approximately 60% of country's export and import is originated from these areas. Port Qasim is managed by Port Qasim Authority, a semi-autonomous government body.[7]


In the 1970s, as a part of Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's program for economic reforms and establishment of heavy industries, country's first steel mill (Pakistan Steel Mills) was established near the southern city of Karachi. A purpose-built specialised port facility was also decided to be established for bulk handling of the massive imports of raw materials for steel production by the Pakistan Steel Mill of Pakistan.[8] In addition to the future economic demands and strategic needs, this port was also meant to relieve congestion at the only seaport Karachi Port of the country. This port was named as Port Muhammad bin Qasim (also known as Port Qasim), after the Muslim general Muhammad bin Qasim who conquered Daybul and the coastal areas of Sindh around 712 CE.[2][9]


Port Qasim is located, adjacent to the Bin Qasim town, in the southern part of Malir district, Karachi division, in Sindh. It is located in an old channel of the Indus River at a distance of 35 kilometres east of Karachi city center.

The geographic position of the Port Qasim places it in close proximity to major shipping routes. The approach to the port is along a 45-kilometre long Navigation Channel which provides safe navigation for vessels up to 75,000 tonnes deadweight (DWT).

Location of the Port Qasim makes it very well connected to the transportation infrastructure of the country. It is at distance of only 15 km from the national highway, providing direct access to the hinterland through road. A further 14 km of railway track inside the terminal links it to the national railway network through 6 railway tracks. Jinnah International Airport is also very near, at a distance of 22 km.

Port Qasim's residential area is a neighbourhood of Bin Qasim Town of Karachi.

Land allocation for port and industrial zones[edit]

The total area of the port comprises 3,520 acres (14.2 km2) with an adjacent 8,700 acres (35 km2) industrial estate. Port Qasim has been divided into three main zones as following:[10]

Zone Total Area (Acres) Area Reserved for

Port Services (Acres)

Area Reserved for

Industrial Use (Acres)

North Western Industrial Zone (NWIZ) 2,920 904 2,016
South Western Industrial Zone (SWIZ) 1,000 125.5 874.5
Eastern Industrial Zone (EIZ) 8,300 2,490 5,810
Total 12,220 3,519.5 8,700
Map of southeastern coastal strip of Karachi, showing Port Qasim and mangrove forests

Terminal facilities[edit]

Currently Port Qasim is offering following facilities:

Facility Berths Berth Length Owned by Deadweight tonnage DWT
Multipurpose Terminal 4 200 m PQA 35,000
Container Terminal 3 (Terminal 1) + 2 (Terminal 2) 712 m (Terminal) + 615 m (Terminal 2) Qasim International Container Terminal[11] 45,000
Liquid Chemical Terminal 1 TBC Engro Vopak Terminal Limited 75,000
Oil Terminal 1 TBC Fotco Oil Terminal 75,000

Night navigation facilities are available at the port, handling up to vessels of LOA 202 meters during night.

Expansion projects[edit]

Port Qasim has planned for a major expansion in coming years with FDI of US$1.22 billion approximately. Major expansion projects of the port are as following:[12]

Project Capacity Budget Completion Year
Liquid Cargo terminal 4 million MT/year US$15 million 2009
2nd Container Terminal 1.175 million TEUs/year US$250 million 2011
GasPort LNG Floating Terminal 3 million MT/year US$160 million 2010
Grain & Fertilizer Terminal 4 million MT/year US$100 million 2011
Coal, Clinker & Cement Terminal 8 million MT/year US$180 million[13] 2011
Granada LNG Terminal 3.5 million MT/year US$274 million 2012
2nd Oil Terminal 9 million MT/year US$51.4 million 2012
2nd Steel Jetty 8 million MT/year US$150 million TBC
Deepening & Widening of navigation Channel US$150 million TBC
Construction of a fly over and dual carriage way Rs. 2 billion TBC
Infrastructure Development works in Eastern Industrial Zone Rs. 8.8 billion TBC
Textile City with Power Plant & Waste Water Treatment Plant Rs. 8.7 billion TBC

Integrated cargo container control (IC3) facility[edit]

The country's first Integrated Cargo Container Control (IC3) facility is being constructed at Port Qasim with a joint investment over US$8 million by Pakistan Customs and the US Customs and Border Protection.

The purpose of the IC3 programme is to enhance international maritime trade security considering post 9/11 security issues. The IC3 programme envisages joint screening of US-bound containerised cargo from Pakistan via live video link by the customs authorities of Pakistan and the US. The US Customs will not subject the screened cargo to re-examination on arrival at US ports. This facility will support trade in terms of reduced time and cost of shipments.[14][15]

Environmental issues[edit]

Mangrove forest[edit]

Port Qasim is located on the northwest edge of the Indus Delta system. The system is characterised by long and narrow creeks, mud flats and the Indus River Delta-Arabian Sea mangroves, one of the largest mangrove forest ecosystems found in an arid climate.[16] In 1972 eight species of mangrove trees were recorded from Pakistan,[17] however, only four continue to thrive. Several species of reptiles, birds, and terrestrial mammals inhabit the project area, wherever suitable habitats are found. These are constantly under threat due to increased shipping and industrial activities in the area.

Aerial picture of Port Qasim, with surrounding Mangrove forests.

WWF Pakistan has taken a mangrove conservation initiative recognising the social, ecological and economic significance of the mangrove forests in the coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan. As a part of this, initiative has been taken on conservation of the mangrove ecosystem in the Korangi – Phitti Creek system, in the Indus Delta (including Port Qasim area). The project aims to conserve selected degraded mangrove forests in the Korangi – Phitti creek area through involvement of community, local schoolchildren and other stakeholders like Port Qasim Authority and the Government Forest Department.[16][18]

Tasman oil spill 2003 at Karachi Beach[edit]

In August 2003, the beach immediately west of the Port Qasim navigation channel was the scene of a major oil spillage when the Greek-registered Tasman Spirit ran aground. The environmental impact included large numbers of dead fish and turtles and a key mangrove forest, as well as dozens of people suffering nausea. At that time, it was feared that this incident will harm the coastal life in the Port Qasim area, however no major impact was observed near the Phitti Creek (waterway entrance to Port Qasim).[19]

Pollution-free terminal[edit]

Recently Port Qasim Authority (PQA) has announced that an implementation agreement is being signed for the development of a 'pollution-free' Coal, Cement and Clinker Terminal (CCCT) worth $175 million with a handling capacity of up to eight million tons per year at port. This step would save the environment from irreparable damages and the health of the port workforce and nearby populations from serious respiratory diseases which would have been a serious threat if the powdery coal was handled in open/bulk on berths at port.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "UNLOCODE (PK) – PAKISTAN". service.unece.org. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b Port Qasim – its potential as free trade & industrial zone, by Jamil A. Siddiqui in June 1991 issue of Economic Review.
  3. ^ Port Qasim – Operational Statistics (FY 2016-17 to 2021-21)
  4. ^ "Port Qasim – Introduction". Archived from the original on 11 December 2009.
  5. ^ "Presentation on 'Ports of Pakistan' by Economic Affairs Division, Government of Pakistan".
  6. ^ World Port Rankings – 2007 Archived 7 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine – Port Industry Statistics – American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) – Updated 1 May 2007
  7. ^ "15.4 metres long ship docked at Karachi port: spokesperson". 11 June 2019.
  8. ^ Forty Years of Pakistan Peoples Party, The official site of Pakistan Peoples Party.
  9. ^ Port Qāsim(Pakistan, Section Manufacturing), Encyclopædia Britannica Online 2009.
  10. ^ Industrial Zones at Port Qasim Archived 15 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Marine Terminals – Pakistan". DP World. Archived from the original on 24 November 2007. Retrieved 22 March 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  12. ^ "Port Qasim – Expansion Projects". Archived from the original on 14 December 2002.
  13. ^ "Port Qasim bulk terminal planned". Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  14. ^ Press release by Media Section, PQA[permanent dead link] dated 20 April 2007.
  15. ^ "DP World Karachi". Archived from the original on 11 July 2010.
  16. ^ a b Conservation of Mangrove Forests in the Coastal Areas of Sindh and Balochistan Archived 4 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine by WWF Pakistan.
  17. ^ Flora of Pakistan (1972)
  18. ^ Environmental Data Resource Centre, WWF Pakistan, Head Office, Lahore.
  19. ^ Tasman Spirit Oil Spill – Assessment Report Archived 27 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine Pakistan – Oil spill in the Port of Karachi, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
  20. ^ Coal, cement and clinker terminal: PICT to build $175 million 'pollution free' facility at Port Qasim, Business Recorder, 07 August 2009.

External links[edit]