The Port of Karachi (Urdu: کراچی بندرگاہ Bandar gāh Karāchī) is one of the South Asia's largest and busiest deep-water seaports, handling about 60% of the nation's cargo (25 million tons per annum) located in Karachi, Pakistan. It is located between the Karachi towns of Kiamari and Saddar, close to the main business district and several industrial areas. The geographic position of the port places it in close proximity to major shipping routes such as the Strait of Hormuz. The administration of the port is carried out by the Karachi Port Trust, which was established in the nineteenth century.
The history of the port is intertwined with that of the city of Karachi. Several ancient ports have been attributed in the area including "Krokola", "Morontobara" (Woman's Harbour) (mentioned by Nearchus), Barbarikon (the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, and Debal (a city captured by the Muslim general Muhammad bin Qasim in 712 CE). There is a reference to the early existence of the port of Karachi in the "Umdah", by the Arab navigator Sulaiman al Mahri (AD 1511), who mentions "Ras al Karazi" and "Ras Karashi" while describing a route along the coast from Pasni to Ras Karashi. Karachi is also mentioned in the sixteenth century Turkish treatise Mir'ât ül Memâlik (Mirror of Countries, 1557) by the Ottoman captain Seydi Ali Reis, which is a compilation of sailing directions from the Portuguese island of Diu to Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. It warns sailors about whirlpools and advises them to seek safety in "Kaurashi" harbour if they found themselves drifting dangerously.
There is a legend of a prosperous coastal town called Kharak in the estuary of the Hub River (west of modern Karachi) in the late 17th and early eighteenth century.
In 1728 heavy rains silted up the harbour and resulted in the merchants of Kharak relocating to the area of modern Karachi. In 1729, they built a new fortified town called Kolachi (also known as Kalachi-jo-Kun and Kolachi-jo-Goth) on high ground north of Karachi bay, surrounded by a 16-foot (5 m) high mud and timber-reinforced wall with gun-mounted turrets and two gates. The gate facing the sea was called "Kharadar" (salt gate), and the gate facing the Lyari River was called "Mithadar" (sweet gate). The modern neighbourhoods around the location of the gates are called Mithadar and Kharadar. Surrounded by mangrove swamps to the east, the sea to the southwest, and the Layari river to the north, the town was well defended and engaged in a profitable trade with Muscat and Bahrain. From 1729 to 1783 the strategic location of Kolachi saw the town change hands several times between the Khans of Kalat and the rulers of Sind. In 1783, after two prolonged sieges the town fell to the Talpur Mirs of Sind, who constructed a fort mounted with cannons on Manora island at the harbour entrance.