The Role of Pakistani Ports in Balancing Trade

Balance of trade means the proportion between the volume of imports and exports. If the volumes are not equal, the trade is called “imbalanced trade”. If expenditure on imports is more than the profit earned from exports is called a “trade deficit”.

Pakistan’s economy is based on the production and export of raw materials. We import expensive finished products. We have trade links with European countries, like the UK, Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, and Belgium, etc. The balance of this trade is negative for us because we earn less foreign exchange from our exports but pay more for imports. Our other trade partners are East European countries, Greece, Hungry, Poland, Romania, etc. Our trade balance with them is positive because we export more goods than we import from them.

We have trade relations with Middle-East countries as well. We import petroleum and dates from them and export agricultural commodities, arms, garments, carpets, etc. to them. Here the balance of trade is in our favor. It means, our exports value is more than the imports value from those countries. We also have trade relations with Asian countries, like China, Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and North American countries, like USA and Canada. Here we face a trade deficit.

Our overall foreign trade is imbalanced. Every year we have a trade deficit in our budget. In order to bridge this gap, taxes are increased and foreign loans are obtained. Remittances from overseas Pakistanis also help a lot in compensating our foreign trade deficit. It means, in the export trade of Pakistan the share of manpower export is significant.


A place where ships are anchored and heavy goods are loaded or unloaded is called sea port. A few years back ships were mostly used for passenger movement, like Hajj travels, but now due to an increase in air traffic, voyages by ships have almost come to an end. Yet in rich countries luxurious fairies are used for excursion trips.

Pakistan has three major seaports:

i. Kimari (Karachi)

Kimari is a natural seaport of Karachi. All the required facilities for anchoring all types of ships are present here. During 1947-48, this port tackled imports and exports of three and a half million tonnes. This quantity increased to 26 million tonnes in 2017-18.

ii. Port Bin Qasim

The place on the seashore where seawater is projected long into land in the form of a narrow strip is called a “Creek”. Port Bin Qasim is constructed on “Gharo Creek” about 20km in southeast of Karachi. This was constructed in 1980 with the main objective of meeting the needs of Pakistan Steel Mills, Karachi. To exploit the full potential of Port Bin Qasim, an industrial estate has been established nearby where a great number of factories of textile, chemicals, cement, leather, and leather goods have been set up.

iii. Gawadar

This port is constructed at Gwadar on the Balochistan coast. It holds immense importance due to its strategic location. Its construction was started in 2001 with the collaboration of China and has been in operation since 2009. According to its master plan, its total area would finally reach to acres.

On 20th April 2015, the Chinese President, during his visit to Islamabad, announced the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Project and signed several agreements of investment worth 46.5 billion dollars. According to the CPEC Project, the Chinese city of Kashghar will be linked to Gwadar by a highway and railway till the year 2030. This project will make Pakistan one of the world’s most important and prosperous countries in the fields of economy, defense, and trade routes.

Dry Ports

There are six dry ports in Pakistan, which are run by Pakistan Railway. The first dry port of the country was established in 1973 at Mughalpura Railway Station, Lahore. After that, other dry ports were established at Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar, Multan and Rawalpindi.

Import goods from foreign countries are received at the Karachi Port. From there these are picked up by Pakistan railway and transported to the dry ports. From the dry ports, the importers collect their respective shipments.

The dry ports serve as a great facility for the import-export businessmen of the country. Prior to their establishment, they would deliver export items to the Karachi Port and collect the imports from the same. Now, they can handle their imports and exports through dry ports located in any of the above-mentioned cities.

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