It’s just incredible that yesterday’s small fishing village ‘Gwadar’ is rapidly rising as a Deep Sea Port today. Keeping in view Gwadar’s extreme impact in the area; Government of Pakistan has affirmed ‘Gwadar’ as a Duty Free Port and a Free Economic Zone. This decision has not only improved its commercial attraction but has also speeded up the tempo of expansion to a tremendous rate.
Gwadar At A Glance
Gwadar is the District Headquarter of Makran Division in Balochistan, the largest province of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Gwader is located on the coastal line of Makran. Along the coastal line, there are four Tehsils including Gwadar, Jiwani, Kulanch and Ormara. Jiwani is the only one on the western part of Gwadar, meting Iranian border on Pakistani side. Kulanch and Ormara, on its eastern side are linking District Lasbela and to Karachi finally. The distance between Gwadar and Karachi in this way, is about 715 km.
Keeping in view all the above-stated factors; Gwadar surely promises a very dynamic and bright future. Therefore, investors from Pakistan, as well as from all over the world, are taking great interest in the investment projects of Gwadar.
Situated at the doorway of the Persian Gulf and about 460 KMs from Karachi, Gwadar has had massive geo-strategic importance. The constant unstable regional situation in the Persian Gulf especially as a result of the Iran/Iraq war, the Gulf war and the appearance of the new Central Asian States has added to this value.
Bearing in mind the geo-economic vital factors of the regional changes, the Asian Development Bank’s Ports Master Plan Studies considered a substitute to the Persian Gulf Ports to control the transit trade of the Central Asian Republics (CAR’s), as well as, the trans-shipment trade of the region. Both Karachi and Port Qasim were considered for such development but were deemed unappealing to main shipping lines due to the following reasons:
· Greater distance from the main shipping routes,
· The limitations of draft for mother ships and large bulk oil carriers, and
· The relatively long turn around times.
The ADB studies, however declared Gwadar to have the most valuable location for such an substitute port in the area, which could hold mother ships and large oil tankers equally easily. Keeping that feature in view, as well as, the natural strategic and economic benefits that Gwadar Port offered; the transport plan of the 8th Five-Year-Plan (1993-94) of Pakistan incorporated the development of Gwadar Port as a vital component of its aims and objectives. Technical and financial feasibilities, therefore, were undertaken that resulted in decisions for the development of Gwadar Port by the Government of Pakistan. The Project initiated on 22 March 2002, is on fast track and will be concluded as planned in March 2005.
The surprising fact is that, with an idea and premeditated risks, Gwadar has been receiving merchant ships since Jan 2003 and have been able to pass on hundreds of tones of cargo imported for the Project, thus saving valuable time and money which, otherwise, is required for transportation of the same cargo by road from Karachi/PQA to Gwadar.
Future of Gwadar:
Actually, Gwadar has the status of a third Deep Sea Port of Pakistan which has a unique importance in terms of trade links with Central Asian Countries, Persian Gulf, East Africa, United Arab Emirates and North Western India.
Gwadar; due to its best location, expansion projects, recreation programs and Government’s special concentration, will soon transform into a city which will be as good as cities like Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai.