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Means of Transport
Transport and communication systems are vital to the economic health of a country,and the density of the transport network is an index of economic development.As the economy becomes more complex and interlinked,adjustments and improvements must be made in the means of transport and communication.Pakistan,is a relatively large country of diverse topography.Development of Transportation network in the plain areas is comparatively easy and economically rewarding.The reverse is true of the mountainous areas and this fact is reflected in the present in the present distributional pattern of means of transport and communications.The density of the transportation pattern is very low in the Northern and North-Western hilly areas and in the Baluchistan Plateau.Vast tracts of land are either totally devoid of any modern facilities or very inadequately served.The following means of transportation are available in our countryi) Inland transportation(roads and railways) .(ii) Waterways (river and ocean transportation and (iii) Air transportation.
1. Inland Transportation
(A) ROAD TRANSPORTATION
Road transport plays a vital roll in the economic development through mobilization of human and material resources available in the economy of a country.It facilities trade and opens business opportunities by collecting goods from the producing centres and distributing them to different areas where they are needed.It promotes foreign trading by arranging the distribution of imported goods and collection of indigenous products to be sent abroad it serves as a mean of creating link between the urban and rural sectors and facilitates the movement of the people all over the country.Such movements accelerate social welfare of the people and help the government in maintaining law and order within the country.It also facilitates the arrangement for guarding the frontiers through mobilization of defence store and personnel to the far flung border areas.It supports and compliments the working of other transport systems.Such as rail,air and waterways which have a limitation of not being extendable to every part of a country and as such,their utility as means of mobilization of resources is very much reduced.
Again,road transport does not require a huge investment and the return of investment made in it not spread over a very very long period.Above all,its maintenance cost is also comparatively very low and as such,its development,improvement and expansion can be effected easily and cheaply in comparison to other systems.
Road Transportation in Pakistan:
All the time Pakistan was created there was not much vahiculay traffic on roads except bullock carts and other animal drawn carts .But today the thronged with trucks,buses,station wagons,jeeps,cars and motorcycles.National logistic cell established in 1978 is performing great service by transporting essential commodities to and from Karachi Port Inland.
Although road traffic is increasing rapidly,the density of the road network is still inadequate and the condition of most roads is unsatisfactory in quality,width, and separation of up and down carriageways.Slow moving carts mingle with modern vehicular traffic and accidents and traffic jams are frequent.
The main roads of Pakistan are as follows:
1.Karachi to Torkham via Lahore:
This is the longest and an important road of Pakistan.It is also known as the grand trunk road.Its length is about 1735 kilometers.
This road links Karachi Port with other interior parts of our country.The import and export of Afghanistan goes through this road.All the big cities situated on this road are linked with other small towns and villages through small roads.In many regions,this road run parallel to the railway line at some places due to heavy traffic from Hyderabad to Karachi,it has been rebuilt and is known as the Super Highway.This road passes from the following towns and cities.Karachi to Thatta,Hyderabad,Nawabshah,Rohri,Rahimyar Khan,Bahawalpur,Multan,Khanewal,Sahiwal,Okara,Patt oki,Raiwind,Lahore,Gujranwala,Gujrat,Jhelum,Rawalp indi,Nowshera,Peshawar,Torkham.
2.Karachi to Chaman via Kalat and Quetta:
This is the second largest and an important road of Pakistan.Its distance is about 834 kilometers from Karachi to Chaman.This road beginning from Karachi passing through the remote areas of Baluchistan Province,reaches upto ,Chaman,a small border town near the border of Afghanistan.The products of Afghanistan ,such as dry fruits etc.come to Karachi through this road.Besides this the requirements of rural and urban areas of Baluchistan are fulfilled through this road.
3.Rohri to Quetta via Sukkur,Jacobabad-Sibi:
This is third important road of our country.Its distance is about 410 kilometers.This road passing through different parts of Sindh Province,connects various important cities of Baluchistan Province.The products of Baluchistan Province and trade with other province is mainly performed through this road.
4.Dera Ismail Khan to Quetta via Fort Sandeman:
This is also an important road of our country.This road connects the areas of N.W.F.P .with Baluchistan Province.This road also goes from Dera Ismail Khan to Peshawar via Bannu and Kohat.It has strategic and economic importance.The distance from Dera Ismail Khan to Quetta is 555 kilometers.
5.Third National Highway:
On the right bank of Indus River,a big highway is under construction.Its distance from Karachi to Peshawar will be about 1220 kilometers and it is expected that it will be completed upto 1993.This highway will connect the following cities:Karachi,Sewan Sharif,Dadu,Larkana,Shikarpur,Kashmir ,Dera Ghazi Khan,Dera Ismail Khan,Bannu,Kohat and Peshawar.
Railways are the convenient and quick means of transport of people and goods particularly heavy items,over long distances.
Pakistan inherited 8554 km.(5315 miles) of railways ,to which much addition has not been made.The extension work has hampered because of difficulties in maintaining and running the existing railways.The locomotives in Pakistan were run by coal.After the creation of Pakistan coal became a scarce commodity .Therefore,Pakistan had to change its engines from coal to diesel which required money and time.Workshop had also to be remodelled to to repair and maintain them.Another problem was the availability of railways are switching to concrete sleepers.At some places metre gauge track has been changed into broad gauge track.Besides this,electrification of Railway track from Lahore to Khanewal has been completed and work of electrification to Samasatta Railway track is under progress.At present, Pakistan Railways comprise of 8775 route kilometers,907 stations and 78 train halts.Its major assets include 753 locomotives,2339 passengers coaches and 34851 freight wagons.
Following are the principle routes at Pakistan railways:
1.Peshawar to Karachi via Lahore:
This is the main line of Pakistan railway.Its distance from Karachi city to peshawar cantt.is 1045 miles or 1682 kilometers.This line passing through Lahore (Pakistan Railway Headquarter) connects the biggest port of Pakistan(Karachi) with other cities of the country.The following are the important stations situated on this routeeshawar,Nowshera,Attock,Hasanabdal,Texila,R awalpindi,Jhelum,Lalamusa,Gujrat,Wazirabad,Gujranw ala,Lahore,Raiwind,Pattoki,Okara,Sahiwal,Khanewal, Multan,Bahawalpur,Khanpur,Rahimyar Khan,Rohri,Khairpur,Nawabshah,Hyderabad,Kotri,Kara chi.
It is a double line from Lodhran to Karachi and Lahore to Raiwind.Trains can go up and down lines simultaneously,but from Raiwind to Lodhran,it is a single line track and trains have to stop at various stations to pass the trains coming from the opposite site.
Electric trains are being run between Lahore and Khanewal and further extension work is under progress.It is estimated that the expenditure of oil consumption have been reduced due to the use of electricity,and a large amount of foreign exchange is being saved also.
2.Karachi to Quetta via Kotri,Dadu,Jacobabad:
This is also an important route of Pakistan railway.This line connects the port of Karachi with various cities of Baluchistan Province and reaches upto Quetta.This line has been further extended from Quetta to Zahidan via Nokundi ,Its distance is about 323 miles.
3.Rohri to Chaman via Sukkur,Larkana,Quetta,Chaman:
The distance of this route is 239 miles,it reaches from Rohri to Chaman,a town situated near the border of Afghanistan.The products of Afghanistan such as fruits etc.reach various provinces through this route.
4.Peshawar to Multan via Attock,Kundian,Mari Indus,Multan:
This is a branch line which reaches from Multan to Attock and meets the main line.
5.Lalamusa to Khanewal via Sargodha,Faisalabad:
This is also a branch line passing through various commercial centres and meets the main line near Lala Musa.
(C) AIR TRANSPORT
in 1947 a small air company,the Orient Airways,Operated in Pakistan.Two more companies quickly stand up namely the Pak-air Limited and Crescent Airways.By 1952 the two new companies were dissolved.The Orient Airways was too small to meet the growing needs of the country.Therefore,in April 1955,Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is established by an ordinance.The Orient Airways was merged in the new company which now monopolizes air transport in Pakistan.
The Pakistan International Airline has made a phenomenal progress since it Inception.It started its life with a fleet of 15 aircrafts,three super constellation ,two convairs and ten Dakutas.As on February 29,1992 Pia's fleet comprised of 47 aircrafts of different types.
The PIA services are available to some large cities like Karachi,Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Faisalabad, Multan, Hyderabad,and Quetta.It also links small places which have transport difficulties like Gilgit ,Chitral,Skurdo,Pasni,Gwadar,Turbal and Jiwani and important historical places,Like Mohenjo Daro.In all PIA serves 35 domestic stations.It has wide links outside Pakistan.It connects many Europeon countries like U.K ,Germany,France,Italy,Russia etc.It goes to U.S.A.It connects most of the countries of the Middle East and a few African countries.It goes to India, Bangladesh, Singapore, Thailand, China, Hong Kong and Japan.In all PIA serves 43 International stations.The result of this expansion has been that the number of the passengers and Cargo handled by PIA has greatly increase in 1955-56 PIA carried 1.1 million passengers which was more than double in flye years time.In 1970-71 and 1971-72 ,There was a little set back because of political disturbances in East Pakistan and its eventual position in 1971.Since then the conditions have started to improve steadily.In ten years time the passenger traffic increased from 1.8 million (1970-71) to 6.5 million (1980-81).The increase was phenomenal rise took place in international traffic from 0.5 million in 1970-71 to 3.2 million in 1981-82.The progress in Cargo handled by PIA as equally glorious.In 1955-56 only 1,00 tons of cargo was carried that increased by about 7 times in five years (1959-60).In other ten years 1970-71 the increase was 3 times.In another ten years (198081),more than three times increase was registered.
Karachi Airport of our country has gained the position of an International Airport. It is a stopping point for flights from Europe to Far East and Australia and also for flights from China to Africa.From Karachi there are connecting flights to various countries of Middle East.PIA'S network extends from Tokyo to Newyork and Toronto.In June,1991,Mashed in Iran as added as a new destination.
In PIA,within a few years engineering facilities will be further developed and production facilities will be geared up to undertake manufacturing and repair work.
Rivers were the chief means of transportation in ancient times.That is why most of the ancient cities grew up along the courses and at the junctions of rivers.Today,only cheap,bulky and non-perishable goods are carried by rivers.
Rivers are probably the cheapest means of transportation.Expenses such as those involved in the building of roads and railway tracks are avoided as the running cost of boats is low.When compared with that of engines and trains .In mountainous regions of our country ,timber wood is transported by means of rivers.There is insufficient water in our rivers all the year round for large boats to use them easily.The Indus carries sufficient water and is navigable from Attock to its delta which is about a distance of 960 miles.Different kinds of Items such as timber,grains,stones etc.,are transported from one place to another with the help of small boats.
The import and export of Pakistan are mainly carried through Ocean transport.
Pakistan is started its life with a frail base in shipping sector.There were three old ships with a dead weight of 18,000 tons.Almost all the goods from foreign countries were brought on foreign ships and heavy drain of foreign exchange was taking place.The government therefore became a member of U.K.Continent Conference line .More than 40 ships began to operate.Further expansion of shipping enterprise was felt necessary.In 1963 a new shipping policy was adopted which among other things,sanctioned the purchase of 35 ships.During the same year National Shipping Corporation was established.Its ship began to operate on U.K.continent route and U.S.A. in 1964.In 1965,its ships started to go to Singapore,Hong Kong ,China and Japan.In 1966,Red sea and Persian Gulf areas were tapped.By 1970 the corporation had 31 vessels with dead weight of 336,931 tonnes.Besides there were 40 ships owned by other companies established in Pakistan.These 71 Pakistani ships were handling the entire interwing trade (East Pakistan-West Pakistan trade) and 14 % of the foreign sea-borne trade and could carry 6600 passengers.In 1974,th e private shipping companies were nationalized.To manage them Pakistan shipping corporation was established.In 1979,the two corporations were merged under the name of Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC).The PNSC's development programme includes the acquisition of a bulk carrier for shipments of rock phosphate,an edible oil tanker for shipments of palm oil,four bulk carriers for shipments of iron ore and coal imported by Pakistan Steel and three container vessels for handling containerized general cargo trade.
At present there are 22 vessels owned by PNSC.The corporation has a dead weight of 352,716 tons.During the first half of the year ending December31,1991 the corporation handled 2.74 million freight tonnes of cargo as against 2.77 million freight tons during the previous-half year ending December 31,1990.
1. Karachi Port:
Located west of the Indus Delta on the Arabian Sea coast,Karachi Port has served Pakistan since its inception.Karachi is a natural harbour sheltered behind the island of Keamari and a break-water at Manora. Karachi,a major port by world standards,is Pakistan's only large port.It has a vast hinterland comprising not merely Pakistan and that part of Kashmir which is not under indian occupation but also Afghanistan.The port has more than 25 berths,plus a petroleum dock.The East Wharf ,constructed over 50 years ago,has been modernized.The West Wharves and a dry dock for the construction and repair of ships have been built since independence.The ports dry general cargo handling capacity,though considerably increased in the past,is still less than the actual amount of cargo handled,the two respectively being C and over 14 million tons per annum.As a result,the harbour is very crowded,with most ships double-berthed,and long delays in entering the port are usual .Much has been done to improve the port in four projects .The fourth project of Karachi port included,among other works,the construction of 75,000 dead weight oil tanker berth.It has improve the old handling capacity of the port from 5 to 10 million tonnes per annum.A master plan had been prepared for the development of the port and the first set of 8 berths,with modern container terminals,was completed by 1987-88.The dry general cargo handling capacity of the port improved by 2 million tonnes.
During the first nine months of the Financial year ending March 1992,the Karachi port handled a cargo volume of 14.7 million tons (11 million tons of import and 3.7 million tons of export) ,which is 4.2% above the corresponding period of the previous year.
2. Port Mohammed Bin Qasim:
In view of the increasing work the Karachi Port had to perform,the necessity of a new port was felt.After examining a number of areas,finally a site for the new port was selected at Pilli Creek,close to Pakistan Steel Mill.In June 1973,Port Mohammed Bin Qasim Authority was established and the work on the port was started.Port Mohammed Bin Qasim,which is the first bulk,semi bulk and industrial port of the country is situated 53 kilometers south east of the Karachi Port.
Besides handling general cargo like rice,cement,fertilizers etc.the port will have special facilities for handling iron ore, coal and steel mill machinery.In the first phase the port shall have 8 berths and 12 more will be added in the second phase.Most of the work in phase 1 has been completed and the port has started functioning.
Cargo handled at Port Bin Qasim during July March 1991-92 was 5.768 million tonnes,including 5.152 million tonnes of import and 0.616 million tonnes of export goods.
This Content Originally Published by a member of VU Students.