The government will nominate a body for operating the Gwadar Deep Sea Port this week, an official source disclosed. Three international companies – the Dubai Port World, Hutchision Port Holding of Hong Kong and PSA International, Singapore – are competing for the operating contract.

“President General Pervez Musharraf is expected to chair a high level meeting next week, at which a decision will be made in this connection,” the source said.

According to the Khaleej Times, if this meeting goes ahead, the winner of the contract would soon be announced, and the port would be inaugurated this month.

However, the government has been putting off the matter for some time. The last time that the meeting was shelved was on August 8. Insiders reveal that various forces were in action: while the bidders were being backed by their governments, the domestic stakeholders had their own preferences. “This has to be decided at the highest level and that is why it could not be decided so far,” one source said.

The Dubai-based company was likely to acquire the contract, the source said, as Balochistan”s Chief Minister Jam Yousuf as well as other senior federal government officials supported it. At one stage, a decision had been taken to give the operating rights to the Dubai Port World, but later the president intervened and said that there should be fair competition among all three, the source said.

Ports and Shipping Ministry officials, sources said, were of the view that the terms of references of the three companies needed to be re-examined.

Source: Daily Times