|This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Pakistan and coal.|
Karachi Port (Urdu: کراچی بندرگاہ - Bandar gāh Karāchī) is located between the Karachi towns of Kiamari and Saddar, Pakistan, close to major shipping routes such as the Strait of Hormuz. The administration of the port is carried out by the Karachi Port Trust (KPT).
Karachi Port is located between the Karachi towns of Kiamari and Saddar, Pakistan.
The port handles about 26 million tons of cargo per annum. The port includes a 100,000 sq. meter coal yard.
The port contains the Keamari coal terminal. About 10,000 to 15,000 tonnes of coal was historically brought in daily at the port from different countries, including Australia, Indonesia, and Africa, largely meant for use in cement factories and power plants. In 2014, it was reported that the Sindh Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) thought the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) was operating the facility in violation of law as the organization had never sought approval for the project from the provincial department, despite operating for eleven years.
In May 2015, SEPA approved two separate Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) reports on the coal terminal. One of the EIAs was submitted by the KPT and the other by the Awan Trading Company Private Limited, a major coal importer at the port. One EIA report found particulate matter (PM2.5), a major air pollutant in the coal dust, was in higher concentration in at least seven selected sites. The approval documents of SEPA made no mention of any penalty against the KPT for violating environmental laws and starting the project without seeking approval from the department.
In June 2018, Pakistan’s Supreme Court banned the unloading of thermal coal at Karachi port after the end of July. The legal challenge argued that the coal terminal operation in Karachi city violated local health and safety regulations. As a result of the ruling, all coal imports into Pakistan will have to be routed to the Pakistan International Bulk Terminal (PIBT) at Port Qasim, about 40 kilometres from the city centre. It is estimated it costs up to US$10 per tonne more to handle coal imported via Port Qasim than in Karachi.
In June 2021, the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) asked the government to allow unloading of coal at Karachi Port. APCMA noted that importing inefficiencies at PIBT were causing inflation and increasing cement and power sector production. It also noted: "Currently, the single berth of only coal handling terminal with its limited capacity is unable to timely manage the discharge of coal vessels, which is not only causing congestion and delay of up to 20 days but unjustifiably increasing the cost of doing business for industries as they have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars as demurrage.”
Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone project
In September 2021, Pakistan and China agreed to develop the Karachi coast, possibly shifting away from Gwadar Port as the center stage of the Belt and Road project in Pakistan, following ongoing problems in Gwadar. A memorandum of understanding was signed for the Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone project during the 10th Joint Cooperation Committee meeting of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) after a gap of almost two years. China plans to invest – not loan – US$3.5 billion in the project which includes adding new berths to Karachi port, developing a new fisheries port and a 640-hectare trade zone on the western backwater marshland of the KPT. The project also envisages building a harbor bridge connecting the port with the nearby Manora islands.
KPT Chairman Nadir Mumtaz Warriach noted it is vital to prevent marine pollution in order to explore Pakistan's potential as a maritime nation and protect the livelihood of Pakistani coastal communities.
- Operator: Karachi Port Trust
- Location: Karachi, Pakistan
- Coal Capacity (Million tonnes per annum): 3.5
- Status: Operating (coal handling banned by law effective August 1, 2018)
- Type: Imports
- Source of Coal: Australia, Indonesia, and Africa
Articles and Resources
- "Bulk Cargo Management," Karachi Port Trust, accessed September 2021
- "Port Statistics," Karachi Port Trust, accessed September 2021
- Faiza Ilyas, "KPT’s coal handling wreaks havoc on public health, environment," Dawn, June 29, 2014
- Faiza Ilyas, "Sepa approval of KPT’s coal handling operation fails to address public concerns," Dawn, May 25, 2015
- "Pakistan orders all coal imports to discharge at Port Qasim from Aug," Platts, June 22, 2018
- "Cement manufacturers urge govt to allow coal unloading at Karachi Port Trust," Daily Times, July 2, 2021
- "Govt asked to allow coal unloading at Karachi Port Trust," Dawn, June 18, 2021
- "Pakistan and China unveil ambitious plan to develop Karachi coast," Nikkei Asia, October 5, 2021
- "China Plans $3.5B Equity Investment in Pakistani Port Project," Maritime Executive, September 26, 2021
- "Agencies should collaborate in making Karachi port pollution-free," Dawn, September 20, 2021