The meeting in the Planning Commission to discuss and
analyse the merit and demerits of the proposal to lease out the control
and operation of multi-million dollar Gwadar Port to a foreign company
has been postponed indefinitely. Sources confided to this correspondent
that it has been done in view of the present disturbed conditions in
For quite some time the government has been examining
a feasibility to lease out the fast upcoming deep sea Gwadar Port to one
of the many aspiring foreign companies. During a presentation to the
President General Pervez Musharraf made by the Governor of Balochistan
and the Federal Communication Secretary on the projects relating to the
development of Gwadar port and Gwadar city in March at Rawalpindi, it
was decided that the feasibility for leasing out the port to a foreign
company may be examined. The Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Dr.
Akram Shaikh was assigned the task who had called a meeting in his
office on August 17, which was to be attended by all the relevant
authorities. The meeting was however, postponed indefinitely without
giving any reason. It was felt that time was not appropriate for taking
such a decision.
According to the working paper of the meeting, the
relevant authorities were required to brief the meeting on the following
made in the presentation to the President in March:
What is the latest progress on implementation of
these decisions? When will the port be made functional?
2) Gwadar has been declared a free economic zone:
What is the progress on the implementation of this
decision, the studies carried out, the manuals prepared, etc., when will
this job be completed? The latest position of the handing over of the
land by the Balochistan government and what is being done about it?
3) The latest position of the access roads:
The option and when will it be completed? Has it been
done, if not what is the timeframe? The latest position in respect of
the proposed industrial complex. Any studies carried out, any procedure
defined? The latest position of access to hinterland. It is apparent
that the port will be completed in July 2005, but the access roads will
be completed in 2009. How will the cargo be carried from the port?
Staff required be recruiting and training immediately
and the port manuals and systems developed. What is the progress? When
will the accommodation be completed for the port operation staff? The
latest position of the detailed master plan. When will it be completed?
The project for expansion of Gwadar airport for A-300
Airbus operations was approved two year ago. There is an Omani grant of
Rs. 150 million lined up. What is the latest position? What is the
position of the plans of telecom facilities and power to Gwadar? What is
the clear-out demarcation of the authority of Gwadar Port Implementation
Authority (GPIA) and provincial Gwadar Development Authority (GDA)?
The working paper, the Gwadar deep-sea was approved
by the Executive Committee of National Economic Committee (ECNEC) in
February 2002 at a cost of Rs. 14,905 (FEC: Rs 8674.0 million). It was
stipulated that the work on the project will be completed in two phases.
Phase-I of the project started in March 2002 and is likely to be
completed by July 2005. It includes three multi-purposed berths (quay
length 602 metres), one service birth, (100 metre), 4,35-kilometre
navigational channel (11.6/2.5 metre deep), roads, plinths and transit
shed, operational craft and equipment including navigational aids,
shore-based port buildings and allied facilities.
The port would be capable to handle ships of 30,000
DWT bulk carriers and 25,000 DWT container vessels. Phase-I will cost
248 million dollars (Chinese pledge 198 million dollars, Pakistan will
provide 50 million dollars). Main port, infrastructure, equipment and
craft, etc. was designed by the Chinese consultants and is presently
being constructed by Corporation (CHEC).
The phase-II will be completed at a cost of 524
million dollars. Infrastructure, which includes road and rail links and
power, will cost 391 million dollars. The phase-II of the project will
be implemented under the "Build-Own-Transfer (BOT)" basis. The
phase-II of the project will comprise 10 additional berths, including
three dedicated container terminals, one bulk/grain terminal with
capacity of handling vessels up to 100,00 DWT and two oil births for
vessels of up to 200,000 DWT.
At the March presentation, the following decisions
The master plan presented by the Governor of
Balochistan was approved.
Unplanned/unauthorized construction (without any
exception) not to be allowed in the master plan area. The families
displaced by the master plan be shifted in a phased programme over a
period of three years. The Chief Minister/Chief Secretary of Balochistan
to give total back up support to the Gwadar Port Implementation
Authority (GPIA). Government of Balochistan to expedite work on
provincial highway from Hoshab-Sorab, which is being funded by the Asian
Development Bank (ADB). The Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister to
get maximum resources related to the GDA, GPA and GPIA. Establishment of
policy board for development of Gwadar, in place of Gwadar
Implementation Committee (GIC) be expedited. Work on road linkages with
Afghanistan be expedited. Work on road from Kalat to Chaman and Gwadar
to Hoshab be expedited. Priority be accorded to road linking Gwadar with
Rato Dero and Indus Highway. The depth of channel be taken to 14.5
metres to attract mother ships and gantry cranes to be installed for
Gwadar deep-sea port under construction some 600 km
by land west of Karachi on the Mekran coast of Balochistan, by the
Chinese and expected to be ready for operation by early 2005 to handle
international shipping, is a mega project. It is expected that with the
completion of the first phase of deep-sea port would be able to handle
annually about two million tons of cargo comprising containers (100,000
TEU's) general cargo, bulk cargo and ro-ro cargo, i.e. vehicles and
wheeled cargo whose loading into and unloading from the ship is through
driving instead of lifting on and lifting off by cranes.
To put the port performance in perspective, this may
be compared with the KPT's 30 general purpose berths and three bulk
liquid, heavy-duty terminals handling almost same cargo volume as 30
general purpose berths altogether achieving annual throughput around 25
million tons of imports and exports; and 10 heavy-duty berths at Port
Qasim presently doing 15 to 16 million tons annually.
On completion, Gwadar seaport will emerge as the
third largest seaport in Pakistan after Karachi and Port Qasim. The port
will reinforce Pakistan's economic development and rapidly transform
Makran belt (Balochistan) into an important industrial and trade center.
Gwadar deep seaport can easily be linked to China,
landlocked Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics by connecting it
with the Indus Highway at Ratodero. Work on highway, which would link
Karachi with Gwadar, is also progressing rapidly and according to
schedule, and should be completed by the end of 2004.
These projects, coupled with the on-going project of
Fish Harbour for which a further allocation of Rs. 12 million has been
made in the budget, will go a long way in opening up the Makran belt for
all round economic development.
Construction of Gwadar deep-sea free port and
establishment of export processing zones and free trade areas, aimed at
maximizing the potential of the Gwadar Port, augurs well for the
development of the western and northern areas of the country. The
development of industrial zones in the port area would bring in private
investment for the establishment of ancillary industries, apart from the
industries spawned by the already existing fish harbour and the
mini-port, and thus create tremendous opportunities.
Alongside Pakistan, many other countries will benefit
from merging trade and shipping activities. This will result in the
opening up of the Makran coast and making Gwadar, which in the local
language, means, 'Gate of Air' an economic regional hub and a gateway
for import and export of the merchandise of the countries located in the
region. According to authorities, on completion, the Gwadar deep seaport
project would create new job opportunities for about 3,000 people on the