The Gwadar Port should be connected with the rest of the country through rail link.

This scheme should be implemented prior to the road links in and around the new port city whose first phase is expected to be inaugurated in December, says a study.

The study, which has been drafted with suggestions taken from various discussions recently held and were attended by serving and retired bureaucrats and leading port experts along with official engagement of the Planning and Development Division (P&D).

The linking of Gwadar Port through roads will not be feasible as shipments by road is economically unviable, because it is costlier.

The government must prioritize the rail link between Gwadar and Sukkur, said the study, which also called for some sort of subsidy from the government in order to offset the additional cost as Gwadar lies too far from the rest of the country.

The Gwadar Port is one of suitable options for east-bound oil trade for South Asian, Southeast Asian and Asia Pacific markets as it would appear impracticable from 2020 onwards to ship increasing quantity of oil through the present route of the Strait of Hormuz.

The study says that real challenge to the Gwadar Port is the new Iranian deep seaport at Chabahar. Some ports on the coast of Oman are other likely choices for oil trade as the present choke point of oil trade at Hormuz is becoming over-congested and it could affect the global energy security as well as regional peace.

The study says that around 60 million barrels per day oil is imported, which represents the scale of global oil trade. At present oil is available and maritime routes are able to handle the required shipping flows.

The widespread availability of oil is, however, shrinking due to declining reserves and a number of oil surplus countries such as China, Malaysia and Indonesia would become net importers of oil in coming years.

Around 57 percent of global oil reserves are concentrated primarily in a few countries of the Gulf, which are likely to outlast many other sources of the world oil supply. It is generally visualized that the global reliance on the oil reserves of the Gulf countries will continue to increase in the foreseeble future.

Pakistan is required to provide state-of-the-art storing facilities, which must be acceptable to the countries concerned and Gwadar could become a choke point for oil trade. There must be an efficient management in place so that clearance of consignments could be made swiftly.

The government, according to the study, failed to provide even reasonably good facilities to traders who are importing goods through Karachi port. The Afghan government always complains about delays in cargos, which are going to Afghanistan through Pakistan.

This should be an eye-opener for the government. Such incidents should not happen for every country, especially Afghanistan, China and the Central Asian Republics, which have largest interest in the new port, the study says.
Source: Daily Times