KARACHI: Since coming into operation in December 2008, it has been learnt that the Gwadar Port has been plagued with a host of problems such as transportation of goods into the area.

Transportation became a problem in particular after the arrival of ships carrying urea. “There is no shortage of transport, but a few contractors have monopoly in the area, which in turn is causing a price hike, among other things,” said an official.

In addition to the price hike, the official explained that in Gwadar trucks carrying cargo have no stand to park in, which has resulted in heavy traffic congestion in the city.

“Because there is no truck stand anywhere, heavy vehicles are parked on the roads, leading to congested traffic,” he said. “The safety and security of pedestrians as well as of local traffic is compromised.”

It has been learnt that a truck stand is being planned by the Gwadar Development Authority, but so far progress has been very slow.

As well as being without a truck stand, the port lacks direct access to the Coastal Highway. The East Bay Expressway, a project of the Gwadar Port Authority, aims to remedy the situation, but even here there has been little progress. If successful, the East Bay Expressway will aid a smooth flow of vehicles not only in the port area, but also further inside the city.

Currently, the Coastal Highway itself is burdened with additional problems. While many of the heavy vehicles approaching Gwadar are without cargo, a large number of vehicles are overloaded. Officials say that overloading is not a problem with urea, but it is with wheat, which has 50 per cent more weight in the same volume as urea.

Allegedly, the Coastal Highway was built in a hurry with builders compromising on quality. Those involved in the business warn that if the trend of overloading continues, the highway may not be able to sustain the traffic for much longer.

Source: The News