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Karachi International Container Terminal a facility par excellence

Karachi International Container Terminal a facility par excellence

SOHAIL RAB KHAN

KARACHI: The Karachi International Container Terminal (KICT), the country’s one of the leading container terminal operators, has been operating since 1998. It is located within the Karachi Port covering a total area of 26.03 hectares. The KICT has five berths equipped with modern container-handling equipment and each berth is 973 metres in length. Nine container quay cranes are fully operational at the KICT for offloading the containers. It has also 29 rubber tyred gantry cranes and six forklifts. The KICT has eight empty handlers and 10 reach stackers. It also contains 58-yard tractors, 75-yard chassis and 528 reefer plugs.

The KICT is a member of the Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) Group, a subsidiary of the multinational corporation the Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL), which is the world’s leading port investor, developer and operator.

One of the officials at the KICT told Customs Today that they are committed to enhance the satisfaction of customers by providing reliable, effective and safe terminal operations. He said the KICT administration, with its continuous efforts and efficiency in services at all levels, has placed world’s leading terminals.

The KICT has always taken part in activities that have changed and improved lives especially those of children. To express long-term commitment to the community, the KICT administration has been extending financial assistance through different programmes including construction of educational centres. One of such examples is Lyari Model School which is located in the centre of Lyari Town, an under-developed locality situated in western Karachi where most of the residents live below the poverty line.

The parents of most of 600 students at the school find it difficult to make both ends meet and they can’t afford to spend on children’s education. Unfortunately, Lyari Model School was overlooked by NGOs due to its proximity to posh areas of Karachi. The KICT stepped in to help the school and its students. The terminal provides the school with money it needs to impart free tutoring, teaching materials and uniforms as the KICT sees this as an investment for the better future of Lyari Town.

The KICT has also introduced SOS Children Village located in Malir area. It is a private social welfare organisation dedicated to the care of orphans and abandoned children. It provides children with a home and family-like environment. Every effort is made to enrich children with strong moral values, modern education and skills that will enable them to become productive citizens. The Village has 15 family houses to shelter children between the ages of 3 to 22.

Currently, 186 children are living in these family houses and the SOS administration is trying to provide them with an environment where they feel protected. The children are given an opportunity to participate in physical activities and there is a proper cricket ground and a basketball court. However, the children were unable to play basketball as the court was in bad shape and needed refurbishment. The original floor of the court was completely broken and needed to be reconstructed.

With the belief that physical activities are an integral part when it comes to proper upbringing of children, the KICT took prompt initiative and renovated the basketball court. The construction of the basketball court will help the children to utilise their time in a constructive manner. Building a basketball court for these deprived children is a small step towards a better future generation.

Furthermore, one of the KICT’s primary goals is to maintain the health and safety of its employees and other port workers. It is committed to ensure that the employees and contractors work together in an environment that is as free of occupational hazards as possible and follow occupational safety laws in letter and spirit.

The KICT is to enhance the performance through commitment of management, promotion of personal accountability, implementation of staff training programmes and measurement of performance based on occupational safety-related criteria.

It also promotes safety culture through a terminal public address system, broadcasting information about safety rules and regulations in different languages including Urdu, English and Pushto.

The KICT complies with all laws and regulations to reduce its impact on the environment. It also promotes environmental protection habits among its staff members.

The KICT uses Synchronous Planning and Real-time Control System (SPARCS) software from Navis to help optimise labour utilisation, manage yard space and deploy equipment. Vessel plans, received as EDI documents, are imported directly into the database allowing vessel and yard planners to plan operations on a GUI interface concurrently and in real-time. SPARCS keeps equipment idle time and the number of handlings per container to a minimum. This helps maximise terminal productivity and profitability.

EXPRESS software helps the KICT manage business transactions according to unique procedures and rules. The dynamic reporting capabilities built into EXPRESS enable terminal managers to track performance, increase profitability and improve customer service. This eliminates the need for paper-based tracking and reduces human errors as all transactions are recorded and invoiced accurately in real-time.

The combination of SPARCS and EXPRESS gives a computerised and real-time tracking of the cargo for the entire time that a container is at the terminal. This is facilitated through real-time tracking by radio data terminals in the yard.

Other IT advances allow the KICT to work closely with the shipping community and port authorities. Using an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), BAPLIE, CODECO, COARRI, INVOIC and IFTMBC allows the KICT to send information electronically to customers in a timely manner.

Other state-of-the-art technology at the KICT includes a wireless LAN for monitoring quay cranes, IP telephony and VHFs for effective internal communications, a highly reliable data backup solution and disaster recovery solution.