GWADAR

Means door of wind

COLONEL (RETD) F. MAQBOOL AFRIDI
Chief Executive, Gwadar Business Associates (Pvt.) Ltd.
E-mail : afridi_gwadar @yahoo.com

July 09 - 15, 2007

Gwadar "the future of Pakistan" is a Balochi word which means "Door of Wind". However, in the diction for future projection it can be referred as the "Door of Prosperity Wind". Let this wind dry up the sweat of people spilled due to their hard work and may this wind turn into fragrance of prosperity for every home and individual working at Gwadar or living in Pakistan.

Fortunately, Gwadar port has been built but unfortunately its potentials have not been understood. If understood, there implementation do not match with the vision envisaged by the President or there seems to be a gap between the policies and implementation.

Gwadar has assumed an international image due to the instability in the Gulf. Gwadar has all the potentials to serve as an alternate to the Gulf Ports and specially Dubai. International collective wisdom always look forward towards (back up) alternate.

Gwadar has geo-strategic significance due to many reasons. It is on the conduit of three most commercially important regions of the world. The oil rich Middle East, Central Asia bestowed with natural resources and South Asia having the potential for growth for the current century.

Gwadar has attained an international stature sooner than the expectations of many analysts. The fishing village mind set is needed to be tuned to shifting paradigms of the geo strategic epicenter of emerging trade horizon. The new economic epicenter now revolves round and around Gwadar. The epicenter has all the natural pulls and potentials of converting the "Dream into Reality". Those who have vision and interest sitting at far distance understand the potential of Gwadar far better than us sitting close to it - an unfortunate dilemma. Those who have been clung to the mind set of fishing village and do not appreciate the dynamics of changing world and ground realities are unfortunate for themselves and for the country. Let this mind set be infused with reality oriented information and focused their attention on Gwadar. The information be able to stimulate and simulate a role model strategy from different perspectives and dimensions. It is knowledge based economic world and whole world is looking for the information, knowledge and accessibility leading to clarity for future decisions.

The Gwadar deep sea port is fast emerging on the world map and gaining importance each day. The fact is that it will serve China being shortest route in terms of time and space, thus rendering transportation cost effective many fold. The Central Asia has no alternate short-cut route to reach to the traditional 'Warm Water' except Gwadar. Even Indian North Western part will prefer to conduct its business from Gwadar. More so, the dream of USSR to reach Warm Water is also going to be fulfilled by converting Gwadar an International Port. The developed countries especially US can not reap the advantage of Central Asia without Gwadar.

AIM

To identify the potentials of Gwadar for better development and to make it a role model for the whole world.

POTENTIALS

Gwadar has enormous potential from all angle and dimensions, whether it is business, trade, manufacturing, storage or any kind of business activity whether known today or emerging with the help of ever developing technology. Mere the construction of Deep Sea Port will not serve the purpose till we explore all the potentials of Gwadar of which we know but not en-cashing it. In short any type of business activity is possible here due to many obvious reasons.

Deep Sea Port. The definition of deep sea port is that the mother ship comes directly at the port and is unloaded. There are only few deep sea ports in the world, the rest are not. The port is equipped with essential port handling equipment and required infrastructure for smooth port operation. In phase-I, the 3 x berths of the port will handle upto 25,000 to 30,000 DWT containers vessel and bulk carrier respectively. In phase-II, it will have 9 additional berths.

(1) Four container berths.
(2) One bulk cargo terminal (to handle 100000 DWT ships).
(3) One Grain terminal.
(4) One Ro-Ro Terminal.
(5) Two oil terminals (to handle 200000 DWT ships).

Geographical Location. In comparison to Gulf ports, specially Dubai, it gives more facilities and will handle more cargo and trade because Gwadar is deep sea port and is located on the main shipping route. For Dubai ships have to wait for days for the route clearance due to Strait of Hormuz. More so the land locked Central Asian States are dependant on Gwadar. Similarly Western China and India shall have short route to the world market maintained through Gwadar. The location of Gwadar Deep Sea Port is such that converge and diverge the whole world business at this place. In comparison, Dubai is devoid of all this. As far as the Gulf Ports (Chabahar & Bandar Abbas) are concerned, they will not be able to attract and generate business till they are calling US 'Satan-e-Akbar'.

Transshipment. The whole region rather the whole world can take advantage of availing transshipment facility. The transit cargo (liquid and dry both) can easily be undertaken from Gwadar and transported to any part of the world in a short span of time in comparison to other ports.

Warehousing. Due to transshipment there will be lot of requirement of warehousing and container yards. Being the deep sea port and on main shipping route it will facilitate the movement of cargo. There will be lot of requirement of warehouses both open as well as bounded.

Trade & Business/Import & Export. The trade and business of all kinds and quantity starting from a needle till ship will flourish, irrespective of the cost. Import and export of all items and magnitude is possible, because the means of transportation like sea/rail/road are available and linked with all important countries and trade routes. Gwadar shall be the 'Mating Point' for sellers and buyers, rich and poor, have and have not and so on.

Manufacturing Industries. Being the deep sea port and facilities for transportation available, the industry of any kind is feasible both from raw material as well finish material point of view. The mineral deposit of the Central Asia has no shorter route to get them transported and reach to world market except Gwadar. Similarly the developed world cannot reap it except the Gwadar. Invariably what may happen it is natural phenomenon that industry develops at all ports due to obvious reasons.

Transportation. The movement of containers to and from the up countries will either be done through railway or heavy transport. Though rail network can be undertaken by government but for heavy road transport private sector will be involved. The transport industry will have to import all kind of vehicles and especially heavy vehicles for fast delivering of goods at the far destination as well as in the city limits.

Gas/Oil Refinery and Petro Chemicals. Gwadar Port shall be termed as an energy port. The gas and oil deposit of CIS will found their new storage destination at Gwadar, because of its natural flow direction. Even Iran can benefit from Gwadar by having opening to the world market for gas and oil. The Pacific countries, India and other countries short of energy can easily be supplied Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) from Gwadar.

Fishery. Presently fishery is one of the most important economic activity in Gwadar district in which a vast majority of the population is engaged. The district has a 600 kilometers long coast line which provides the residents not only the means of income but also the food to subsist. About one fourth of the total catch of different variety in Pakistan is produced in the district Gwadar. At present there are 2 x jetties (Gwadar + Pasni) in the district. Till today fishing is a family skill. The skill is transferred by the father to his son. There is a need for training on modern fishing techniques. On an annual basis there is a potential for an additional catch of at least 70,000 tones. Fish processing at Gwadar is providing employment to many of the local educated unemployed youth.

Tourism. The landscape of the district Gwadar is unique in itself. The mud hillock, the God gifted land scripture give a look of scenic view as if carved by an artist. The two hammer heads of Gwadar and Ormara are unique. The turquoise sea water with the golden sand beach facing south is un-compromising. The best thing is that the beaches can be used for whole year. The tourism ministry has yet to realize the beauty and potentials of tourism of the area. They must be encouraged and pushed to market the area initially for locals and ultimately for foreigners.

Real Estate. The foremost thing in any kind of business activity is the real estate. God will not increase the size of earth rather due to human explosion the land is shrinking, thus the value of real estate will increase. On top of that if some business or trade activity is generated, the value of the real estate get auto escalated - a universal phenomenon.

Construction. Presently Gwadar has no building/ accommodation to accommodate the human influx and store the bulk supplies of any kind. The construction industry has so much potential that one has to start from the construction of brick till the high rises, for which there is no limit, 'Sky is the limit'.

GOLDEN ROUTE

Those who can think and realize shall see a road map being developed from Gwadar till China / Central Asia. In the process a 'Golden Route' is in the making in between these countries/city. The volume of vehicles plying on this route shall generate business and prosperity at each and every point provided we have proactive mind set and let our head and hands work for it.

SECURITY

An invisible security arrangement be created with the help of electronic surveillance and people in civil clothes rather having security people in different uniform given an impression of besieged city. In the later stage an aerial security can also be undertaken in the shape of a helicopter just watching the main roads like Coastal Highway, road leading towards Turbat and other important places. Security of the level of Sher Shah Suri be ensured. A woman full of jewelry to roam as freely on the roads of Gwadar as she is in her room. For time being there is not a much security problem but for future it must be planned.

ROLE OF DIFFERENT SEGMENTS

Government. The main actor to play its leading role is Government. The Government must have firm, friendly and vibrant policies with regards to all developments and the people involved in the development process in any shape. A special group of officers at all levels and departments be created and posted to Gwadar with lot of perks and privileges, like an individual going on deputation. However, for such a mega project where a Deep Sea Port City has to be developed requires a 'Defacto Prime Minister' who has power, vision and ability to get work done on ground. The main advantage of this shall be to curtail the bureaucratic channels, remove day to day impediment and give boost to the development process in a planned way in a shortest possible time. The Government should formulate the policies and then shall only supervise for its implementation and leave the rest to the businessmen and investors to play their role. The government should also start thinking of shifting the Provincial Headquarters to Gwadar before we are late as usual, in case the whole coastal belt from Hub till Gwadar is to be developed.

Local. The people of the area are very cooperative and soft spoken. Locals at all levels be encouraged to participate mentally as well physically to play their role. The locals be compensated for their borrowed land and at the same time encouraged / forced / educated to go in a joint venture else they will sell their land, enjoy and coup up the money. The moment they realize they will have lost everything and then will be trying to snatch the sold land or become proclaimed offender. The locals be given share but at the same time responsibility to work else they become lethargic. To bring the locals at par, the foremost thing is to give good education system to the area which will benefit the locals in many ways e.g. they will be able to compete for any job and will run their own business efficiently else they create another Lyari Town.

Investors. All investors and specially the rich people are basically coward. Mostly the investors like to have a constant policy of the business and secondly they want a secure environment to play around. It is the responsibility of the govt to ensure for both.

Foreign Investors. Foreigners be encouraged to invest preferably in joint ventures, firstly to give them confidence and secondly will feel secure and thirdly for other obvious advantages of Foreign Investors like having technical know how, resources and lot of spare money to invest.

Pakistani Investors. Pakistani investors within country and outside should be encouraged to invest in Gwadar. I can say with conviction that whosoever does not invest in Gwadar now, shall repent in the future. Pakistani investors must be educated about the future prospects of Gwadar through seminars, print and electronic media. The Pakistani investors will have many advantages like they are familiar with the international business rules / regulations and secondly they have their roots in Pakistan and would be glad to contribute in a dignified way for own sake as well for the country.

STRATEGY FOR ROLE MODEL

Gwadar should be like a state within state and shall be run by capable body of the Govt, selected on merit basis from all over Pakistan. It should have its own boundaries, rules and regulations etc. But the right and share of the locals and province shall be safeguarded irrespective what ever the cost may be. The Gwadar shall be developed in phases from area comprising of E-W (Ormara till Jiwani) and in the north no limit. The area shall be further sub-divided and sub-sub divided into different sectors. But the condition for the development shall be qualified people whether Pakistani or foreigner preferably foreigner for time being. The area shall be zoned e.g. Jiwani shall be developed as a tourism hub including the coastal belt, Pasni as a fisheries hub, Ormara shall develop due to the presence of the Navy and they shall be tasked for education institutions, Gwadar and area towards E and N be developed as industrial cum commercial zone and area towards W as residential. International Airport, main railway station and cantt area shall be towards Eastern side preferably at Karwat/Nalient/Kapar. The complete area be secured through natural barricade (hill etc) and fenced.

Initially all out efforts shall be made to create conducive and secure environment which shall be only possible if dedicated team is deputed. Once it takes start then it will be easy to tie up the loose ends. It is just like the process of grinding where the material is brought to its required shape. We are the same material which is working in Dubai, UK & USA etc. There our behaviour and attitude is absolutely good and we excel also. If we are able to create environment as of Dubai then our own people will prefer to work here rather going abroad. Once an individual under goes in such like process, then on return he brings good attitude and inculcate them in his family, a family is trained. Now this family shall inculcate the same in the village, town, city and so on. Similarly any foreigner working in Gwadar shall be so convinced due to the prevailing good environment, that once he goes back to his native country shall speak good of Gwadar in terms of behaviour of Pakistani, business opportunities and the other commercial activities. This way he will encourage other people and having good impression of Pakistani at Gwadar, will also prefer to have his business in other cities of Pakistan. This two pronged strategy will help in the overall development of Pakistan alongwith shedding away the curse of extremism and other day to day abuses for which we are paying for nothing. Gwadar shall be the 'Face of Pakistan". The people inside and outside the country should quote Gwadar as an example of a successful business hub.

BENEFITS AT WORLD LEVEL

Gwadar is key to many development processes in the world. The energy provided through Gwadar to India/China/Pacific shall lit the lights of many poors and at the same time many houses of the developed countries shall be decorated/beautified due to natural resources of the Central Asia. Lets see the advantages each country will get in return for their businesses at Gwadar.

USA. Will reap Central Asia only through Gwadar.

China. See her future expansion in business and wants to curtail time in reaching to world market through Gwadar.

USSR. Wants to have round the year business through Gwadar.

Central Asia. Shorter route to world market for supply of natural resources through Gwadar.

Europe. Shall have an access to Central Asia through Gwadar.

Africa. Will help Africa in developing and linking with China through Gwadar.

Pacific. The energy crisis can be over come by providing Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) from Gwadar.

India. India will prefer Gwadar over her ports due to short route to his North Western parts.

There is hardly any region left which will not be benefited because of Gwadar. The common sense indicates that if a location is so beneficial then why we should not develop it for our advantage? For this the simple answer is just give few important facilities at Gwadar and encourage the above mentioned countries. They will come for their own advantages but in the process we will be developed and benefited.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Gwadar should be developed as a role model by deputing good staff and exploring its all potentials.

Government shall have vibrant but firm and consistent business and trade policy.

Marketing at international level be done to attract foreigners as well Pakistani living abroad.

Locals be encouraged to go in a joint venture and shall be educated on priority.

Fool proof and invisible security arrangements shall be made.

CONCLUSION

Initially I thought that Gwadar will become Dubai, but once I thought more of its potentials, then I said that Dubai will be in the pocket of Gwadar. Once again I thought more, then it revealed that it is disgrace to Gwadar to compare it with Dubai. Now analyzing more into the potentials of Gwadar, I say that Gwadar has the potential to become a role model for the world provided we exploit its potentials. I also thought many times that how Gwadar came to my mind, still I don't fully comprehend except to take refuge in the dictum with due humility that Almighty ALLAH has His own ways to get the work done from His creatures. Now I believe that there is a destiny which is difficult to comprehend and explain. Any how may ALLAH bestow His mercy on us and get the work done from us which is good for our religion, country, fraternity and so on. (Ameen)

Let us develop Gwadar as a role model city with the Islamic values, where business and trade shall be conducted as per the norms of our ancestors, whom stories we narrate and hear but do not act.

To summarize, Gwadar has destined to change the economic outlook of Pakistan and shall bring prosperity to each individual, province and the country (Insha Allah). The motto should be "Build Gwadar and Develop Pakistan".