The Karachi Timber Merchants Group is one of the oldest trade associations in Pakistan. Founded in 1938, the Group traces its history before the creation of Pakistan and also before the start of World War II.
In 1938, during the era of British Rule in consolidated India, the Timber Industry was rapidly growing and expanding in the Indian Subcontinent. Karachi was one of the major ports and important sea trade routes linking the continent with trading communities in the Far East Asia, Africa and Europe. The original Timber Market was located in the compound opposite the current Karachi Metropolitan Corporation ground on M.A Jinnah road. Logs were unloaded from bulk cargo ships at Karachi Port and rafted to Baba Island for storage, before being delivered to the respective consignees.
With the changing demographics and influx of migrants into Karachi, the city administrators decided to shift the Timber Market from the existing residential area to a more spacious place closer to the edge of the city limits. A large area in Lea Quarters which was part of the dried up Lyari River system and used mainly as a garbage disposal site was offered by the K.M.C to the Timber Merchants on a ninety nine (99) year lease. The current day Timber Market is still located in this area and has grown and expanded to include neighboring districts and streets.
At the time of Pakistan’s Independence, the market mostly comprised of Gujrati speaking Dawoodi Bohra and Sindhi Hindu traders. After the creation of Pakistan, the resulting migration and changing demographic trends in Karachi have resulted in Memon merchants from India representing the majority of the market today.
When the market initially came into existence, the merchants were facing numerous problems and the KTMG was formed to collectively address and solve these problems. The KTMG officially came into existence in 1936 and was formally registered as a body in 1938. It’s first managing committee meeting was held on 27th July 1939 under the presidency of late Mr. Ebrahimjee M. Sheikha at the premises of Essajee Ebrahimje & co.
Amongst the several mandates entrusted to the Group, Karachi Customs Authorities also entrusted the Group to assess all timber and forest product consignments being imported into Pakistan and to also create a policy and framework which is still being implemented today. The KTMG representatives are called to provide support and advice on timber related issues throughout Pakistan.
Over the changing economic landscape of Pakistan, the Group was called time and time again to provide insight into industry innovations and changing market trends to help the furniture and construction industries in Pakistan. From being a purely Import based market, the group also supported several entrepreneurs in establishing Hardboard, Plywood, Melamine Laminated Sheets and Chipboard manufacturing units in Pakistan.