Karachi Port Trust
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Karachi Port Trust (KPT) is a Pakistani federal government agency that oversees the operations of the Port of Karachi in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. Between 1880 and 1887, the port was administered by the Karachi Harbour Board. The Karachi Port Trust was then established by the Act IV of 1886, effective from 1 April 1887.
Brief History of the KPT
Karachi due to its geographical and strategic location is known as the gateway to Asia. By 1852, Karachi was an established city with a population of about 14,000 with a prosperous trade in over-seas markets. However, the existing Port started taking shape in 1854, when the projects of dredging the main navigable channel and the construction of a mole or causeway joining the main harbor with the rest of the city were undertaken. About 5 years later, construction of Manora Breakwater, Keamari Groyne, the Napier Mole Bridge, Native Jetty and the Chinna Creek were started which gave initial shape to the port.
The construction of the wharves started in 1882, and by 1914 the East Wharves and the Napier Mole Boat Wharf had been completed. During the period between 1927 and 1944, the West Wharves of the Port, the lighterage berths and the ship-repairing berths were constructed. Most of these facilities were obsolete by the time Pakistan came into existence in 1947. Since then, the port administration has embarked on extensive development of the port on modern lines. At the time of independence in 1947, the Port capacity was about 1.5 million tons of dry cargo and 1.0 million tons of P.O.L. products per annum. Karachi Port is now handling over 11.74 million tons of liquid cargo and 25.45 million tons of dry cargo, including 1,213,744 TEUs which constitute about 60% of import/ export of the country.
Karachi Port Trust Building
The building dates from the height of the British Raj, and is an amalgamation of British, Hindu and Gothic styles that was designed by G. Witted — who was a consultant architect of the Government of Bombay. Witted was also the Architect of the Prince of Wales Museum / the Gateway of India (1908). This grand building is located on the opposite side of Qamar House, Eduljee Dinshaw Road, Karachi. Its structure was completed in 1915 under the supervision of the Engineering Department, KPT and the cost incurred for its completion was Rs.9,74,990/-. Lord Willingdone, the Governor of Bombay inaugurated KPT Head Office Building on 5 January 1916. It occupied a large area about 1400 sq. meter. On the other side, KPT Head Office Building has a historical side, in the First World War (i.e. 7 February 1916 to 6 May 1919), the building was converted into 500 beds hospital, aimed to serve people. The colour of building and material used in the construction was unique as the colour of the building is in a yellowish colour that is Sepia, stone based. The curvature of this building is matchless and makes it stand tall amongst many structures. In building’s centre curve, there is a large dome placed at the top of it. Domes are the prominent feature of Roman Architectures. Design of KPT Head Office and architect seems to be inspired by Roman Architects. Although, Domes were common feature in Islamic architecture but they were canvassed in different styles. The other classic materials of the buildings are its doors, windows and arches, which are huge in size and in green colour.
Exterior and interior of the building is simple, Rooms were designed to be specious and have high ceilings. Teak wood was used in this building extensively despite its high costs. The wood works on the window is printed in dark green colour, which adds to its adornment. KPT Head office building had only one entrance with a huge door and 2 large anchors are kept on both sides. Striking arches of the corridors crafted in both exterior and interior, which is symbolic Roman Styled Architecture. The floors are tiled with black & white colour and easily washable. These tiles are called cemented tiles, purposely made of by adding different colours in the cement. As we have already mentioned earlier, the usage of teak wood is found everywhere in the building, even the elevator is also wooden. While going up in elevator, you can experience a site seeing of every floor that passes by because there is no wall is present in between. There is only one railing back of the elevator, which is uncovered and mechanism of the elevator is visible. On its 2nd floor, there is a huge and specious Board Room that adds great significance because it is located right under in dome, where all the meetings held. There are two huge arch shaped glass windows; beautiful glass painting is done on them. Old clock kept there by the name of Elliot Brother Company, London. There is another big Conference Room adjacent to the Board Room. Now, all the meetings are held in conference room. On 2nd floor, the third most important room is Record Room, which is used for keeping the records of the original proceeding and secret files. All the proceedings from 1893 till to date are kept here.
The Karachi Port is administered by a Board of Trustees, comprising Chairperson and 10 Trustees. The Chairperson is appointed by the Federal Government and is also the Chief Executive of Karachi Port Trust. The Chairperson is of Grade 22 or equivalent rank. The remaining 10 Trustees are equally distributed between the public and the private sector. The five public sector trustees are nominated by the Federal Government. The seats for private sector trustees are filled by elected representatives of various private sector organisations. This way all port users find a representation in the Board of Trustees.
The Chairman is Vice Admiral Shafqat Javed preceded by Rear Admiral Azhar Hayat Awan(acting GMO).He remained chairman for the year 2013-2014.
- Behram Sohrab H.J. Rustomji, Karachi 1839-1947 A Short History of the Foundation and Growth of Karachi in Karachi During the British Era Two Histories of A Modern City, Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2007 Pg 52
- A Short History of Karachi Port, M. Adeel Qureshi, Education Officer, KPT
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