Pakistan has two major operating Ports serving 803,943 square kilometres of hinterland, besides offering services for land-locked Afghanistan. The Karachi Port has 28 general cargo berths with draft of 10 to 11.3 m. and three oil jetties - two of which are capable of handling 75,000 dead weight ton (DWT) ships; the third is being reconstructed to serve 75,000 DWT ships.
A dedicated Container Terminal of 600 mt. quay length with draft of 11.3 m. is already functioning at the West Section of the port which is capable of handling 300,000 TEUs per annum and can accommodate 2,700 TEU ships. The terminal is equipped with three gantry cranes, 6 RTGs, and has an area of 136,000 sq. m. and a holding capacity of 8,570 TEUs. Berths 6-9 have been reconstructed and will support the establishment of a second Container Terminal at the East Section of the Port. The Port is also equipped with Two Harbour Mobile Container handling cranes that are located at the East Wharf Berths 1-4. The Port handles 18 million tons of cargo including about 7 million tons of liquid cargo. The Port has adequate covered and open transit storage areas for storage of general cargo and containers with effective security and fire fighting systems. The Port also provides buffer storage areas for export cargo, including bulk commodities for export.
Keeping in view the present status of the Port facilities, changes in maritime transport, and future requirements of the trade and commerce sectors, Karachi Port, with the assistance of the World Bank, has formulated and launched a comprehensive Port Modernisation Plan will take care of the Traffic for the next 20 years.
The other major Port, Port Qasim, is located approximately 50 km. south-east of Karachi and became fully operational in 1983. The Port facilities include a 1,400 m. multi-purpose terminal, divided into seven berths of 200 m. each. Berths 1-4 can accommodate vessels of up to 25,000 DWT and Berths 5-7 of up to 35,000 DWT. There is also a 279 m. special berth for handling bulk iron ore and coal for Pakistan Steel. The berth is connected with the steel mill facility through a 4.5 meter elevated conveyor. The Port also has one Oil Terminal set up by the private sector for handling liquid bulk cargoes, including fuel oil and petroleum. Port Qasim handles an annual average of 7.2 million tons of cargo, of which about 3 million tons is liquid cargo.
The Port of Karachi and Port Qasim, are well served by the road and rail system, linked directly with the National Highways and Rail Services.