The Port Muhammad Bin Qasim

Published on by KHAWAJA UMER FAROOQ

Qasim fort from breakwater
The Port Muhammad Bin Qasim (Urdu: بندر گاہ محمد بن قاسمBandar-gāh Muhammad bin Qāsim), also known as Port Qasim, is a deep-water seaport in Karachi, Pakistan, on the coastline of the Arabian Sea. 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 country, together handle more than 90% of all external trade of Pakistan.
 
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.
 
History
In 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.[6] 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.[1][7]

  Location

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 metric tons 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.
Tasman oil spill 2003 at Karachi Beach
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).[17]

  Pollution-free terminal

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.[18]
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