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Govt to provide land for ancillary port facilities at Gwadar

Posted on 03 December 2008

ISLAMABAD: The government is planning to acquire 78 acres of land adjacent to the Gwadar Port for provision of ancillary port facilities, like container parks, banks stevedore and clearing services, offices, workshops, storage yards and others, sources in the ministry of Ports and Shipping told Daily Times here on Monday.

These facilities would help in swift port operations and to meet the future requirements of the Gwadar Port users. The structures and facilities of the newly completed port have already been outsourced to Port of Singapore Authority International (PSAI) and according to ‘Concession Agreement’ already executed with them, the ‘Concession Area’, which encompasses the entire developed and non-developed area of the port was to be handed over to the PSAI. In such situation, the sources said that it would become difficult for the Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) to plan and conduct any activities of its own, which were essentially required for any Port Overseeing Authority and also to fulfill its commitments.

For addressing these issues, the GPA submitted a proposal for the acquisition of 100 acres of additional land at Mullabund Area in the second meeting of Gwadar Coordination and Implementation Committee (CIC) held last year. This scheme would cost the government Rs 490 million for which an allocation of Rs 12.732 million had been made in the MTDF for Ministry of Ports and Shipping under Transport Development Sector, the sources maintained. However, for this project the federal government has made no allocation in the Public Sector Development Programme.

The government is determined to make Gwadar an investment-friendly nucleus and a regional hub for economic activities. Efforts are already made on fast track process for providing necessary infrastructure for future development activities.

The Gwadar Port could handle ships of up to 50,000 deadweight tonnes through its three berths and after completion Gwadar Port would became the busiest port of the region, equipped with warehousing, trans-shipment and industrial facilities. Gwadar Port is located 460 km, away from Karachi, so, making itself less vulnerable for Indian blockade, which Pakistan faced in 1971 and was threatened in 1999.

Once a small fishing town along the Makran Coast would now become a mega seaport, which would fulfill the requirement of three geographically important regions, the entire subcontinent, West China, central Asia States, and Afghanistan, the sources maintained.

The operation and management of the port was handed over to the Singapore Port Authority (SPA) under a 40-year agreement between the GPA and the Concession Holding Company (CHC) – a subsidiary of the SPA that was operating 22 ports in 11 countries.

The port would not only promote trade and transport with Gulf States, but would also provide tans-shipment of containerised cargo, unlock the development potential of hinterland and would become a regional hub for major trade and commercial activities.

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