With the consistent expansion and development of sea ports especially with the deep sea container terminal, Pakistan is now capable of handling the largest container ships afloat today on par with the most advanced container terminals in developed countries.
The biggest and deepest vessel berthing ever was recorded with a draft of 14 meters in Pakistan at South Asia Pakistan Terminals (SAPT) recently. This was recorded by the container vessel Hyundai Long Beach when it sailed from SAPT recently.
According to the port authorities, this is the first time in the history of Pakistan that a container ship with such huge depth was at berth in any port in Pakistan. Previously, vessels with a draft up to 13 meters were berthed at Karachi Port and at Port Bin Qasim.
Accordingly, SAPT offloaded import cargo of 1,227 containers and loaded export cargo of 1,745 containers on the said ship.
With the near completion of ongoing dredging activities at Karachi Port, KPT officials are of the view that vessels up to 15.5 meters draft can now be handled at Karachi Port at the new SAPT facility.
SAPT is a US $1.4 billion BOT project of Hong Kong based Hutchison Port Holdings, the world’s biggest container terminal operator.
At present, the dredging activities at the deep sea containers terminal are at its conclusive stage, hoping to meet the target depth of 16 meters which will make Karachi Port capable of handle the biggest container vessels with a draft length of nearly 15.5 meter and containers capacity of over 18,000 TEUs.
It is pertinent to mention here that cargo handling has been in full swing at SAPT since early December 2016.
Experts within the shipping industry are of the view that the arrival of deep draft vessels has broken the barrier limit in Pakistan, which was previously constrained by inherent factors limiting the size of vessels that could call to the port.
With the available facility in Pakistan, traders now have an option to expedite their consignments with the operating deep draft vessels of various shipping companies which will save their time and money in the future.
Pakistan has witnessed consistent and double-digit growth of handling cargo volumes during the past couple of years, which has been outstanding to surpass growth of various countries. It is predicted that growth of volumes is likely to outpace in the future given the stable economy and trade output of the country.