Means Of Transportation In Pakistan

means of transportation in pakistan
Written by Waseem Raza

The various modes used for a movement. For each mode, there are several means of transport.

They are:

  1.  Land transportation (rail, and road)
  2.  Water transport (coastal and ocean)
  3. Air transportation

Land Transportation

Land transport is divided into two major categories.

  1. Roads
  2. Railways


Road transport is most popular, and it carries about 90% of the total passenger traffic. The country has about 248,340 kilometers of roads. Road traffic is increasing to nearly overwhelming proportions, with mixtures of animal carts, high-speed cars, buses, and trucks. Roads are considered very important in our country, because different cities are connected through roads. Goods may be transferred as early as possible through roads at their destination. In Pakistan initially roads served as feeder to the railways. Now roads are competing railways for all types of passengers, including long-distance.

Estimated Length of Roads in Provinces (Kms)

The development of infrastructure pertaining to roads is crucial to economy and socio-economic development of the country. It is not an exaggeration to suggest that growth of several other economic sub-sector sectors depends on better roads network for timely availability of inputs and disposal of goods and services. During July-March FY 2017, total length of roads in Pakistan including GB and AJK is 264,401 kilometers as compared to 263,356 kilometers over corresponding period of last year, the table given below represents the total length of both in low and high type in the country as given below:

means of transportation in pakistan

National Highways

During the 1990s, Pakistan began an ongoing project to rebuild all National Highways of Pakistan throughout the country to important financial, cargo and textile centers. The National Highway Authority (NHA) is responsible for the maintenance of all national highways in Pakistan.

1. The Makran Coastal Highway follows the coast of Sindh and Balochistan provinces. It links the port cities of Karachi and Gwadar. Journey time has been reduced to six or seven hours with the construction of the new Coastal Highway. The highway was built as part of a plan to improve transport facilities in southern Balochistan.

2. The Karakoram Highway is the highest paved international road in the world. It connects China with Pakistan across the Karakoram mountain range, through the Khunjerab Pass.

3. The Grand Trunk Road (commonly abbreviated to GT Road) is one of South Asia’s oldest and longest major roads. For several centuries, it has linked the eastern and western regions of South Asia. It runs from western Bengal, across north India, into Peshawar in Pakistan.

Motorways The construction of motorways began in the early 1990s. The idea was to build a world class road network and to reduce the load off the heavily used national highways throughout the country. The M2 motorway was the first motorway completed in 1998. It links the cities of Islamabad and Lahore. Many new motorways have opened up including the M1 motorway and M3 motorway. The NHA has already completed three segments of Pakistan Motorway networks viz M-1 (Peshawar-Islamabad), M-2 (Islamabad- Lahore) and M-3 (Pindi BhattianFaisalabad) on a virgin corridor bringing remote areas on mainline and boosting economic activities.

means of transportation in pakistan

NHA is now constructing M-4 (Faisalabad-Khanewal-Multan) and KarachiHyderabad Motorway (M-9) on build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. Details of NHA Motorways networks is presented in table given below

means of transportation in pakistan


The Pakistan Railways has a definite edge over road transport for long haul and mass scale traffic movement both for passenger and freight in addition to providing a safe, economical and environment friendly mode of transport. An effective railway system of the country facilitates commerce and trade, reduces transportation costs and promotes rural development and national integration. The network of Pakistan Railways comprises of 7,791 route kilometers, 451 Locomotives (DL439 + Steam 12), 1,732 passengers coaches and 15,948 freight wagons.

Gross earning along with passenger traffic, freight carried and freight tones has improved by 14.6 percent, 4.5 percent, 38.9 percent and 44.6 percent respectively in FY 2016 over last Year.

rail transport means of transportation

Major Railways Route

1. Karachi- Peshawar Railway Line

Karachi – Peshawar is the main railway line in Pakistan. It is operated by Pakistan railway. It begins from Kiamari station Karachi and ends at cantonment station Peshawar. The total length of railway line is 1683 kilometers (1048 miles). There are 184 railway stations between Kiamari stations to Cantonment station. Approximately 75% of the country’s cargo and passenger traffic uses this line. Following are the important routes situated on this route are: Karachi cantt, Landhi junction, Kotri junction, Hyderabad junction, Tando Adam junction, Nawabshah, Rohri junction, sadikabad, khanpur junction, Multan cantt,

Khanewal junction, Okara, Pattoki, Raiwind junction, Lahore, Lala Musa, Jhelum, Rawalpindi, Taxilla cantt, Nowshera junction and Peshawar cantt.

2.Karachi to Quetta Railway line

It is also important railway line of Pakistan; it connects the port of Karachi with various cities of Balochistan.

3. Rohri to Chaman Railway Line

The line begins from Rohri junction station and ends at Chaman station. Length of this line is 522 kilometers (320 miles). There are 35 stations between Chaman and Rohri station.

Water Transport

At the time of independence Pakistan only got three ships which were in very bad condition, and we rely on foreign companies for imports and exports and have to pay huge amount of foreign exchange to them. For the development of shipping sector government decided to set up Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC). In the beginning 31 ships were there, but with the passage of time number of ships decrease as in 2004 there was only 13 ships are left to the PNSC. Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC)

At present, PNSC fleet comprises of 09 vessels of various type / size (05 bulk Carriers and 04 Aramex tankers) with a total deadweight capacity of 681,806 metric tons being the highest ever carrying capacity since its inception.

means of transportation

Water transportation is important for handling large quantity of goods and passengers. The inland waterways along rivers are not as developed as seaports. Seaport handle major portion of international trade. At present there are three major ports in Pakistan

  1. Karachi Port
  2. Port Muhammad Bin Qasim
  3. Port of Gwadar

1. Karachi Port

Karachi port is one of the South Asia’s largest seaports. It is located at Indus delta on the Arabian Sea coast. The port presently handles 60percent of the country’s trade through its operations within the port limits defined by the federal government. The geographic position of port places it in close proximity to major shipping routes such as the Strait of Hormus. The administration of the port is carried out by the Karachi Port Trust. The port comprises a deep natural Harbour with an 11-Kilometer-long approach channel which provides safe navigation for vessels up to 75000 tonnes deadweight.

The main areas of port activity are two wharves: East Wharf with seventeen vessel berths and West Wharf with thirteen vessel berths. The depth alongside the berths is currently 11.3 meters.

Karachi international Container Terminal opened in 1996 at West Wharf berths 28-30. It has a handling capacity of 300,000 TEUs per annum.

Pakistan international Container Terminal in 2002 at East Wharf berths 6-9. It has a handling capacity of 350,000 TEUs per annum.

means of transportation

2. Port Muhammad Bin Qasim

Port Qasim Authority was established in 1973 and develops a new port that serves industrial sector as well general cargo. It is also known as port Qasim. The Qasim port is located in Karachi Sindh on the coastline of the Arabian Sea. It handles 35% of the nation’s cargo. The port encompasses a total area of 12,000 acres where in most of industrial zones operate.

slowest means of transportation

3. Port of Gwadar

Gwadar is the first port on the south western Arabian Sea coastline in Baluchistan, about 635 km from Karachi and 120 km from the Iranian border by road. This Port is located just outside the Strait of Hormuz, near the key shipping routes from Arabian Gulf to Far East and Europe. Gwadar Port is strategic warm water. Deep-sea port and phase-1 of the port has been developed jointly by Government of Pakistan and the Government of the Peoples Republic of China with a total cost of US$ 288.0 million, the port was inaugurated in March 2007.

1. Port Ormara

Ormara is a town in Gwadar District in Balochistan province of Pakistan. It is a port city located in Makran coastal region. However, after construction of Makran Coastal Highway and Jinnah Naval base life has taken a positive change for the locals with many local industries and the resultant increase in jobs for locals. Ormara has a port and fish harbour. The Jinnah Naval base of the Pakistan Navy is located at Ormara.

2. Port Pasni

The Port Pasni is located in Pasni City in the Balochistan Province of Pakistan. The facilities include modern fish harbour, port and naval base for the Pakistan Navy.

Dry Ports A dry Port is an inland intermodal terminal directly connected by road or rail to a Seaport and operating as a center for the transshipment of sea cargo to inland destinations. In addition to their role in cargo transshipments, dry ports may also include facilities for storage of goods, maintenance for roads and rail cargo carriers and custom clearance services. A dry port can speed the flow of cargo between ships and major land transportation. Dry port can also improve themovement of imports and exports. There are numbers of dry ports in Pakistan which are as:

List of Dry ports in Pakistan

At present there are six dry ports running under the management of Pakistan Railways.

  1.  Lahore Dry Port Established in 1973.
  2. Karachi Dry Port Established in 1974.
  3. Quetta Dry Port Established in 1984.
  4. Peshawar Dry Port Established in 1986.
  5. Multan Dry Port Established in 1988.
  6. Rawalpindi Dry Port Established in 1990.
  7. Islamabad Dry Port – H-9

In addition to the above, there are four Dry ports established and running under the management of private sector.

  1. Sialkot Dry Port Established in 1986.
  2. Faisalabad Dry Port Established in 1994.
  3. Pak-China Sust Dry Port.
  4. NLC Dry Port at Thokar Niaz Beg Lahore.
  5. NLC Dry Port at Quetta.

Air Transportation

Pakistan has air link with many countries the world. It relates to most Middle East countries through air. It has air services with USA, European countries, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, China, Hong Kong and Japan. In 1947, there was only three small air companies working in Pakistan, but these were too small to meet the growing needs of country. 1955 Government set up Pakistan International Airline (PIA) to meets the needs. In 1990 government changed its policy and allows private sector airlines. The private airlines did very well to compete with the well-established flag carrier, PIA which was controlled by the government.

air transportation

PIA fleet consists of the following type of aircraft

  •  Boeing 777
  • Boeing 747
  • Airbus A310
  • Airbus A320
  • ATR42 & ATR72

Other private Airlines operating in Pakistan are as Air Blue, Shaheen Air, Pearl Air, Askari Aviation, and Vision Air International. Read more

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