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Gwadar deep sea port: vision turns into reality

GWADAR: Gwadar deep-sea port, Pakistan’s third modern port and Balochistan’s first has become operational last week after its formal inauguration by President General Pervez Musharraf. The port will serve as a strategic storage, transit facility and a regional hub for major trade activities, along some of the busiest sea-lanes in the region.

The port operations commenced with the unloading of cargo from three cargo ships, which anchored earlier.

With the inauguration of Gwadar port, the vision and initiative of President Musharraf on Gwadar port has turned into reality.

The operation and management of the port was recently handed over to the Singapore Port Authority (SPA) under a 40-year agreement between the Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) and the Concession Holding Company (CHC) – a subsidiary of the SPA that is operating 22 ports in 11 countries, and will invest $550 million in next five years. The Gwadar Port can currently handle bulk carriers of up to 50,000 DWT through its three berths. A 5 km long channel, 14.5 meters deep and being close to the shipping lanes, the cargo ships will spend lesser time entering and leaving the Port.

The port will not only promote trade and transport with Gulf States, but will also provide tans-shipment of containerized cargo, unlock the development potential of hinterland and will become a regional hub for major trade and commercial activities.

Amidst the serene surroundings the rapidly expanding town of Gwadar today has numerous hotels and motels, including a five-star hotel Overlooking the Arabian Sea and the Gulf, the place has rich potential for tourists, from not only Pakistan, but also abroad.

Gwadar is the first seaport of Balochistan, which was completed in three years at a cost of sixteen billion rupees with the financial assistant of china. It will serve as an economic and trade transit avenue for Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Middle East countries.

Gwadar, Pakistan,s first deep seaport, after functioning would change the fate of the area by transforming its socio-economic landscape. It would generate tremendous opportunities for the people of Balochistan as thousands of jobs and new business will be created by it.

Free economic zones would be set up near the port that would help harness vast potential in natural resources of the area. This port would also lead to the development of heavy and large-scale industries, petrochemicals and manufacturing sector. Pakistan is already strategically located and this seaport would increase this importance and make the access to the Central Asian States more convenient.

Singapore Port Authority, which would look after Gwadar port for 25 years, is running ports in almost 9 countries and would invest almost three billion dollars for the development of this port.

This port had been declared tax-free for 40 years and it is estimated that almost 50 million ton cargo would go through this port in next 10-15 years. It would give boost to the economy of the country and Pakistan would become the economical and trade hub of the region.

Gwadar is located on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, close to the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, through which more than 13 million bbl/d of oil passes. It is strategically located between three increasingly important regions of the world: the oil-rich Middle East, heavily populated South Asia and the economically emerging and resource-rich Central Asia.

Gwadar Port is expected to generate billions of dollars in revenue and create two million jobs. This port would also lead to the development of heavy and large-scale industries, petrochemicals and manufacturing sector.

With a population of 125000, the Gwadar Town on Makran Coast is now set on way to become a hub of shipping, commercial and industrial activities.

The port comes as a much-needed national requirement in the wake of the rise in cargo traffic on Country’s ports, which are operating at full capacity.

It is expected that Pakistan’s maritime traffic would rise by three folds by 2010. With the construction of a third port, it is estimated that Pakistan will not only be able to meet its own requirements of the future but also offer its port facilities to the neighboring countries. app

Source: Daily Times

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