Nov 24 - 30, 2008

For China the importance of operational Gwadar port is great as the port provides world best trade transshipment route. Functional Gwadar port will be for the advantage of the whole economy of Pakistan as well. The windfalls arising out of growing trade activities will not be limited to one port but trickled down to operations of all other ports by attracting in large numbers international shipments.

Dispelling the impression that the new port will slice shares of handling shipments in Karachi port or port Qasim, Col (R) Maqbool Afridi, Chief Executive Gwadar Business Associates said, being one of the world largest deep sea port Gwadar would give a rise to transshipment activities and indeed share burden of prospective enormity in operations with other ports. People should come out of this narrow-minded approach and think in broad perspectives.

Gwadar port is a blessing in disguise for Karachi or other port in the country, decisively he maintained. The strategic location of the port positioned at Persian Gulf will become a pertinent conduit of transporting goods from and to different regions. "Interregional transshipment is an unmatchable specialty of this port, facilitating short-distanced transportation of goods mainly from and to China, CARs, and Europe," says Afridi and adding in all these outbursts Pakistan will become a prime beneficiary. "Take an example of China; this country has Korea and Japan neighboring nations which are its arch economic rivals, besides goods from China to Dubai port and vice versa need to travel long distance across its border and sea routes while on the other side it has Pakistan which can connect with world trade China through Gwadar port with cost effectiveness. Within Pakistan, Karokaram Highway gives entry and exit to goods form and to China", he explained.

From Gwadar to Ratodero road lane has already been completed. This road is connected to national highway and further expands to KKH near Hawelian. He said majority of road works had been finished. In past, highway construction works were faltered due to government instability. Road networks will augur well with the growth of interregional trades. In addition, Central Asian Republics can increase their trades with the world through using Gwadar port. Reconstruction of RCD highway may give goods access to Europe via turkey. All in all, operational Gwadar port will work as a stimulant to regional and world trade growth while only channelization of goods will shower payouts to all provinces of Pakistan. "Forget about silk route, excitingly he spurs, now this will be a golden route." "Imagination is the limit; the trade will jump by thousands of percents," he answered to a query in relation to possible potentiality of growth in trade after startup of trade activities in Gwadar.

'China accepted the task of construction of the port because it had realized that the port was located at a strategic position and good for its economic progress. China is deft in thinking in long term. The port has great importance for the China which is investing in African region. The port's transshipment capability will be utilized as a channel to develop a regional link". Since it is also good for Pakistan's economy, government of Pakistan should assist China in implementing the plan. It should establish and strengthen industrial infrastructure within the port area and ensure security for the investors. "In spite of that, I firmly believe that Gwadar vicinity is most secured in the entire nation," he asserted. Government should also ensure that industrial land be available at nominal prices.

Besides providing a shortcut to goods transportation, the port's natural vastness enabling it to hold capacity to handle large shipments facilitates cost reduction measures for commercial ventures", he said. Situated at creeks, Dubai port poses serious trouble to big vessels and bears hefty cost in maintaining the port. Although Dubai port has world class technology in mechanizing docks and machineries, with government assistance Gwadar port can present outstanding performance, he said and added for it cooperation amongst different ports authorities would be needed. 'Let us complement each other. We can exchange expertise and shipment loads with the Dubai port'.

In only one division of Balochistan, previous government has successfully accomplished four mega projects including Gwadar port and Merani dam ushering ways of prosperity in the region. "I think if Musharaf government would stay in the second term, Gwadar port would have been operationalized," he replied decisively when asked of reason behind hiccups in full operation of the port. We should at least give due credits to achievements of preceding governing system. We should refrain ourselves to indulge in blame game. Defining himself as a person calling spade a spade, he also said, "I believe in criticism for reformation". In fact political differences should not come in the way of development works. 'First consignment reaching port was a good indication towards startup in exuberance of trade activities. But, things are not moving ahead. I am hopeful that full fledge activities will be started in near future'. The soon this happens, the more huge economic benefits for people living in the nearby area as well as for the nation as a whole.

"Let's Gwadar call wind of prosperity", he uttered, to not for specific quarter but for all. It will become a role model for the world. He requests the government to work out a plan to harness gold deposits explored at Rato Dek. He says there is a need to lay down transportation network to transport gold from the place to refining destinations. For further transporting gold to world over, warehouses and refineries should be constructed at Gwadar. But, he apprehends that unless trade activities are started in the quayside, construction works would be hiccupping. He is desperately waiting for full operationalization of the port as his stakes are also hooked into it. Associated with construction business in Gwadar port area, he had launched Gwadar Development Authority industrial scheme in 2005 with residential, commercial, and industrial plots on installments. Construction work is slow. Real estate slump has aggravated slowdown process, he concludes.