In 2021, a growth of 25 percent has been seen in the cargo handling activities at Port Qasim Authority (PQA) and Karachi Port Trust (KPT). This increase is directly linked with 26% and 18% rise in Pakistan’s exports and imports.
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the country’s imports were recorded at $56bn. This is an increase of 12bn from the same period last year. The exports rose to $25.3bn in FY21 from $22bn from last year.
On the other hand, all Pakistani ports ensured business continuity and alleviate the pandemic impact on the maritime sector. However, the downside was the traditional ports facing congestion and efficiency issues in delivery service to the end-users and increase cost to shipping lines, whereas Hutchison Ports Pakistan (HPP), the only deep water container port, remained productive with its cutting-edge technology and modern infrastructure
This has helped other terminals and trade in reducing congestion impact by handling the extra vessel calls at HPP.
Pakistan has started receiving substantial orders of textile and other value-added items, whereas other regional countries notably India, Bangladesh, Thailand and Sri Lanka were endeavoring to curb Covid infection rate by strict lock downs.
A KPT official said the total cargo handling grew substantially to 52.279 million tonnes in FY21 from 41.840m tonnes in FY20.
In imports, total volume stood at 36.469m tonnes in FY21 as compared to 27.206m tonnes in FY20. The share of total dry cargo went up by 36.53pc to 24.670m tonnes in FY21 from 18.069m tonnes in FY20 in which dry general cargo and dry bulk cargo volume stood at 18.170mn tonnes and 6.5m tonnes as compared to 15.358m tonnes and 2.711m tonnes, up by 18pc and 140pc over FY20. Total liquid bulk import cargo handling grew by 29pc to 11.799m tonnes from 9.137m tonnes in 2019-20.
In exports, KPT’s total cargo volume improved by 8pc to 15.810m tonnes from 14.634m tonnes which included 9.689m tonnes of dry general cargo and 5.584m tonnes of dry bulk cargo during 2020-21 as compared to 8.841m tonnes and 5.130m tonnes in 2019-20. The volume of liquid bulk export cargo fell by 19pc to 0.537m tonnes from 0.663m tonnes.
A 15.34pc rise was registered in container handling in twenty-foot equivalents (TEUs) to 2.988m tonnes from 1.992m tonnes. Out of the above figures, the number of import TEUs was 1.155m in 2020-21 as against 1.001m TEUs in 2019-20. Export TEUs stood at 1.142m versus 0.991m in 2019-20.
Arrival of ships at the KPT increased by 21.5pc to 1,813 ship from 1,492 in FY20. Out of total ship movement, number of container ship rose by 17pc to 869 from 743 followed by 61.5pc rise in bulk cargo ship to 281 from 174, five per cent rise in general cargo ship to 169 from 161 and 19pc hike in oil tankers to 494 from 414 ship in FY20.
Meanwhile, cargo handling activities at the Port Qasim also swelled to 58m tonnes in 2020-21 versus 51m tonnes in 2019-20. In 2016-17, total cargo handling was 37.3m tonnes. As per data available at PQA’s website, arrival of ships at the PQA rose to 1,709 in FY21 from 1,520.