Karachi Port Trust

“Ardeshire Cowasjee: The Clifton Cross : a complete mess”:http://dawn.com/weekly/cowas/20050424.htm

The Karachi Port Trust is building an underpass in the middle of the city. The quick summary is that KPT seemingly forgot to hire a road engineer and went on ahead with their plans. Secondly, the KPT has no business building underpasses in the middle of the city.

The Karachi Port Trust killed Karachi’s once thriving port by charging ridiculous port fees until its come to the point where only those ships come here which have to – nobody in their right mind would use the karachi port for things like refuellng, supplies etc. They’ve build up a ridiculous large chest of money by overcharging and under spending on what they should actually have been spending money, instead of building apartment and office complexes and flyovers. Imports have to come in somehow, so kpt was able to amass vast sums as it had a govt monopoly. The purpose of the kpt was not to amass vast sums of money, but to provide a functioning port, which it is still not doing so – it’s more expensive and ten times slower than any other decent port in the world.

The other question is: why why why is the KPT building goddamned underpasses and flyovers? And criminally designed ones to boot. This question bears repeating. Why does the KPT have so much money? It’s got nothing to do with predatory monopolistic practices at the expense of the rest of the country has it? By putting so many hassles in the way of business’s in effect the KPT acts as a brake on the economy. Historically, the port charges in Karachi have been the highest in the region, along with one of the largest manpower to tonnage ratio in the world. As a comparision,up to a few years ago the *port charges at Karachi were 20 times higher than Dubai!* The World Bank in the 90’s reported that Pakistani shippers pay an extra 15 billion rupees a year – costs which are wholly passed on to industry and consumers. Other studies have estimated even higher figures. Over the years, it adds up to hundreds of billions of rupees taken out of the economy – taking the money multiplier effect into account thats trillions of rupees over the years!

Anecdote: A foriegner was in Karachi for a few days for the recent textile exhibition. After taking one look at the clifton underpass he said in his country whoever designed that would be in jail in no time flat, and would be banned from all govt. contracts. Whoever approved that project would also be serving time alongside. He also could not understand why no work was going on there – for most of the time he passed by there were only a few people loitering around. For projects like these the work should go on 24/7. Labour is cheap in Pakistan, so he was doubly amazed as to why so few people were working on such a large project.

From the ‘Cowasjee article’:http://www.dawn.com/weekly/cowas/cowas.htm, it basically seems like the corps commander (who lives very near the clifton underpass) wanted one built so one is being built – damn the design, and other minor issues like traffic planning and so on.

bq. Reportedly a proper three-level design was presented (underpass/at grade/overpass) allowing for an uninterrupted flow of traffic from and to all directions. This was rejected: the order was given ‘Present another design within 15 days.’ The new makeshift design, cheap and careless, allows for no right turns, it is totally inadequate, and it is doubtful that it would be approved even in a backward republic reversing towards the fourth world.

From the World Band & Pakistan government sponsered ‘TSDI: Transparent Sector Development Initiative’:http://www.pakroadusers.com/tsdi/tpgts.htm:

bq.. Trade facilitation does not occur anywhere near the level that it should. *Irreversible shipment delays and delays in receipts of goods are commonplace.*

Fractious, territorial disorganization impairs all aspects of operation. Little or no coordination exists between the services offered. Obsolete cargo equipment, ineffectual cargo management, unnecessary custom procedures and excessive lag-times before issuing cargo clearance are require urgent improvements to enable Pakistan to compete equitably in the international market place.

…PNSC and other ports & shipping organizations are over staffed and inefficient. Excessive and disruptive political interference strangles all aspects of operations. Nepotism and the lack of management and professionalism produce inferior quality services. Likewise, the lack of proper planning and absence of basic coordination with other transport sub-sectors give rise to prolonged delays while ship(s) wait to be berthed.

These problems leads to other numerous operational deficiencies and provide opportunities for pilferage. Issues like these create unnecessary losses that damage Pakistan’s economy.

p. _May 3, 05:_ A letter by Kafil A. Khan, Senior PRO, KPT in ‘Dawn’:http://www.dawn.com/2005/05/03/letted.htm#4:

bq.. APROPOS of Mr Ardeshir Cowasjee�s column �The Clifton Cross: a complete mess� (April 24), it is clarified that the KPT is contributing to the reconstruction of the road infrastructure in Karachi to ease the traffic problems. It has pledged to contribute Rs2.5 billion towards the rehabilitation and development of roads, bridges, flyovers, underpasses of the city. The development efforts are visible and will bear fruit soon and benefit Karachiites, in general, and residents of the Schon Circle area, in particular.

The KPT, through its consultants, had prepared different design options for Schon Circle. The existing design was implemented after the approval by the authorities concerned. As the right turns were taken by only a nominal percentage of traffic and any overpass would have ruined the facade of the commercial buildings around, the approving authorities had not agreed to an overpass. It was done in consonance with the demands of the shop owners of the area.

However, to address the concerns of the citizens of Karachi, the KPT is considering fresh options, one being a cloverleaf. It will provide right turns in all the four directions and also interconnect with the underpass at grade roads. Hopefully, this design will not detract from the aesthetic and commercial value of the Schon Circle area. The inconvenience faced by the people residing in the Schon Circle area is temporary and for a short period.

p. How can they start construction when the are considering a design change? Seems a waste of resources – it’s not like a lego set where one can knock it all down and rebuild over and over till it passes muster. I like it how they’re passing the blame onto the shop oweners, instead of the Nazim and Corps Commander – after all, they approved the designs, not the shop owners.

A new article by Cowasjee in Dawn on May 8, 2005: ‘Ardeshir Cowasjee: Clifton Cross: the deaf have heard’:http://www.dawn.com/weekly/cowas/cowas.htm

A flyover there, an underpass here – billions are being spent on the road system though its a well understood fact now that the building never stops – the only solution is an effective mass transit system, or at the least some traffic planning instead of hit and run building without any regard to traffic flows and growth. With the advent of cheap fianancing, the number of vehicles on the road is growing at a tremondous rate – there is no way any major city in Pakistan _(except for Islamabad, but it is arguable whether it really is in Pakistan)_ can keep up. It’s the old saying: ‘One step forward, two steps backwards’.

_It would be interesting to see the KPT operational budget…_

23 thoughts on “Karachi Port Trust”

  1. The issue does not stop at the creation of one bridge/underpass the problem is huge with the rise in vehicular traffic made more so due to easier leasing options more cars keep flooding the streets of Karachi. These stop-gap solutions will not solve the massive traffic plyin on our streets

    The overhaul is needed on major arteries and traffic should flow freely without signals Shahrai Faisal has got one bridge to another but before they finish one intersection the next intersection becomes a bottle neck. We now look at some solution to the Jinnah hospital intersection next on line is Nursery –> Tipu Sultan –> Awami Markaz – wow four more bottleneck that need some serious intersection.

    Clifton Cross is a disaster in the making someone needs to bash some sense into the planner who created the sharp tail-end turn on the Gora Qaburstan bridge, it is too sharp to allow proper flow and it merges into Sh Faisal at an acute angle the autorites should have allowed the incoming traffic to straighten up before meging into Sh-Faisal and not cause a traffic jam due to the incoming traffic, they had enough sidewalk space to ensure the merging traffic to smoothly merge into Sh-Faisal. Even the curve in the bridge should have been widened.

    I refrain from commenting on the Sh-Qaideen bridge but on a casual glancing look it appears as if the turning radius might be a tad-bit too-tight. Damn you whosoever dreams of these plans.

    There planning is so hush-hush that one never get to know how the bridge will shape up until its opened – If i recall correctly we had one hazzy map drwaing of one of our disatrous bridges drawn with a scribbling pencil, heck my 3 yr son would do a better drawing then the one we saw published – it left more questions then actually solved the confusion.

    Damn you guys – we have to suffer and you make the millions in the ‘cuts’

  2. _someone needs to bash some sense into the planner who created the sharp tail-end turn on the Gora Qaburstan bridge_

    The first time I went on that bridge, I saw a bus *in* a car on the exit . The flyover enters the road at such a sharp angle that pretty soon they’ll be putting up a traffic light there as traffic has to stop and go there anyways.

    Karachi traffic is well past the point of no return – these criminally designed flyovers and underpasses are like slapping a few bandages on a patient bleeding to death from a thousand cuts – they’re ignore the malaise and treating some of the symptons.

  3. does anybody know if these engineering plans are published online some place?? I mean I’m trying to understand how this intersection is going to work- I was under the assumption the traffic lights would REMAIN in the normal ‘ground level’ section, where people could turn right, left or go straight from any of the directions… That is how they’ve made these overpasses in Lahore as well as Islamabad. Just trying to understand how they could complicate such a simple project!

  4. This is how the underpass doesn’t work:

    bq.. A vehicle going towards Clifton from Teen Talwar wishing to turn right at Schon Circle to get to Mai Kolachi will have to travel up to Do Talwar and come round and back and turn left. A vehicle going towards the city from Clifton wishing to turn right at Schon Circle to get to Submarine Chowk will have to go up to Teen Talwar, turn round and come back to Schon Circle and turn left.

    A vehicle coming from Mai Kolachi wishing to turn right and go to Clifton will have to go up to the Submarine Chowk, turn around, and come back to Schon Circle to turn left. A vehicle coming from Submarine Chowk and wishing to get to Teen Talwar will have to go all the way up to the Mai Kolachi roundabout and come back to Schon Circle and turn left.

    Additional travelling time for each double-back comes to roughly 10 minutes over a distance of 1.5 kilometres. Multiply this by the number of vehicles plus man hours over a period of 50 years. Time and money lost — phenomenal!

  5. Re: Sh-Qaideen bridge

    Yes, the steep turn is pretty dangerous, to fix the problem I’d do the following: a) Add big wide-angle mirrors (the one you see on the Murry montain roads) in the middle of the turning so that incomming traffic might be able to see whether there are any cars stopped there. b) Lower the right hand boundary wall (while going down the bridge). Same concept, increases visibility for incomming traffic.

  6. Cowasjee article got some attention as the Sindh Governor has asked for a new design for the clifton underpass. There is still hope in the country. btw, how come there was no Cowasjee article in the sunday’s paper? Is he okay?

  7. Haseeb – Good points – and design flaws are seen even in the Defence-Sh.Millat bypass, where many have persihed in accidents becoz the roads were not banked properly to assist steering for cars traveling at higher speeds. Sometimes in cases of crossing pedistrian traffic it created confussion in the driver and results in either an under-steer or over-steer for his dear life. Be careful

    You even see a design flaw at the Kemari overhead, on casual look the intersection looks majestic but for frequent drivers who espcially use this bridge when driving from the beach towards sh-faisal there is curve at a certain section of the bridge where you really have to slow down otherwise you could potentially overshoot the median.

    It seems as if these bridges are built by Rickshaw driver Architects who are unable to comprehend (repeatedly) mistakes on bridges. I wish Schon Circle is re-designed with due care.

  8. From time to time, and more often of late, one comes back with the feeling that Mr. Cowasjee criticizes just for the sake of criticizing. He is apparently stuck in a time warp. Before any one jumps at my throat, let me say that I am not over enamoured of Flyovers or underpasses. As a matter of fact, I believe that their negative aspects are greater and said so in an article in The Business Bangladesh, Dhaka below.

    One Flyover Is Never Enough

    History tells us that one flyover is never enough. It just aggravates the problem. Moreover, flyovers also alienate the pedestrian. Dhaka’s denizens have learned that quickly enough.

    Flyovers by their very nature are self-begetting. One flyover breeds another and yet another until a host of them gets circumscribed by a ring road and crisscrossed by a subterranean railway. Delhi is a case in point. Lahore is soon to become another. Dhaka will have to follow suit.

    We were told exactly that at the inaugural of the Mohakhali flyover. Some more flyovers, including the speedy completion of the one in Khilgaon, underpasses, over bridges, an 18km. elevated expressway and an underground railway were all promised. There was to be no ring road but a circular waterway instead. This is all well and good and quite in line with the script.

    The trouble with such a piece meal solution is that by the time the pieces are all in place the mega city has outgrown their utility or spread out in a different direction or created another set of business districts leaving city planners to play catch up once again. Delhi, Karachi, Kolkata and Mumbai, are, at present, at different stages of this catching up exercise.

    Delhi has approved 38 more flyovers alone. Karachi is looking at a mix of flyovers, bypasses, underpasses and an elevated expressway to supplement those already there. Kolkata has adopted a somewhat similar mix. Mumbai, which has the best public transport system in South Asia, has nevertheless, to build 50 flyovers in all to reduce traffic snarls.

    Flyover building turns, therefore, into a never-ending process that is highly disruptive of civic life and extremely cost intensive. Yet South Asia has gladly embraced it when the developed world has forsaken it. What a pity!

    Dhaka is different. So is every other city in South Asia for that matter. Yet we persist in adopting the same cure for traffic problems oblivious, or so it would seem, of each city’s characteristics. Dhaka (RAJUK) packs around 10 million people in a little over 300 sq. km. and another 3 million in the remaining 1,000 sq. km. It has a daytime labor/ market population that exceeds 15 million and has the entire Bangladesh for its hinterland. Literally all roads lead to Dhaka.

    Have these facts been considered in depth? Were other alternatives considered? Or did we blindly adopt the World Bank advisory? Answers to these questions hardly matter at this juncture. It is too late now to turn back. Let us instead brace ourselves for perennial infrastructure development in and around Dhaka. This is likely to take us to the year 2015 when Dhaka’s population reaches 20 million and we may well have to begin all over again. Let us hope better sense prevails then.

    by Joseph Michael Pereira

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  9. Talk about flyovers and underpasses. Our country every thing is so poorly planned and no human and envioronmental considerations are kept in the mind. The only thing that is kep in mind is how the rich and military personal will travel.

    For example there are none or one or at the most 2 stairs for pedistrains on flyovers the garbage and bbroken pieces are never taken away from the fly overs hence the top of fly overs where these idiotic Punjab supported militry men travel are clean at some extent but underneth there are heaps of trash.

    I think the Pakistan Army is the biggest terrorist in the country they are ruling the country with a stick.

    I happen to go to one of those Punjabi army guy’s birthday party what levish party it was and what idiotic people were they and their fat ugly wives. What will happen to them what will be their children like i wonder.

    May Allah have mercy on this country and may all these crafty crows go to hell.

  10. helloo sir my father are seamen lekin abhi unki age above 50 hogayeh hai hai aurcompany unhain jahaz per nahin bhaij rahain lekin company main 5o se above person ko bhi paise lekar lerahain hai plz aap kuchkijiye

  11. Its huge traffic flow from Johar mour to Nipa Chowrangi and there is no turning through out NIPA its really very neccessary to have an under pass or a over head bridge for the cars cross the roads from both side it will also decrease the rate of accidents .

  12. Moid, Wikipedia keeps every version of every page – so if information was added it will still be there. At the top of every page in Wikipedia there’s a tab saying “History”. That will bring up every edit done to the article.

    A quick google search will being up tons of information and opinion on the upcoming KPT tower.

  13. HI.





  14. Dear sir,

    i want to get information about import custom.Please explain me detail,that if i import a vehicle/leather/cars/surgical e.t.c then how much custom i have to paid against release my equipment.

    I am so anxious for your best response.


    best Regards,

    M.Naveed Akhter



  17. Hi Guys! I like to find out what method is used to clean oil spill like the one Greek ship which Sank in 2003 off coast of Karachi ? Can Anyone please help in providing me the detail information on cleaning the oil spill along coast line simple and easy and cost effective.

    kind regards

    syed nasser ali

  18. Dear Sir.

    Please tell me how i can see the details of import good when good come at karachi port which companies are import good from other countries.

    Best Regd


  19. June 11, 2007.

    Dear Sir / Madam,

    We are exporter of Bangladesh origin Jute Goods. We require detail information about KEMARI PORT, Karachi, Pakistan i.e. load restriction & other related information. We need the information urgently. Thanks in advance for cooperation.

    Waiting for your Feedback ASAP.

    Kind Regards

    S.M.Liaquat Hossain


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