Authors: Vahid Pourtajrishi & Elaheh Shirvani
Gwadar port is located in the province of Baluchistan in Pakistan and on the coast of Arabian Sea. The port’s plan was first established in 1954 when it was owned by the Oman’s kingdom. The distance between Gwadar and Karachi, the main commercial city of Pakistan, is 533 km and the distance to Iran’s border is 120 km. After 200 years of Oman’s Kingdom governance over Gwadar Port, by US mediation in the negotiations between Pakistan and Oman, finally this port was sold to Islamabad on 8th Dec. 1958 at the price of 3 million dollars.
The initiary plans for the development of Gwadar was first introduced in 1992 but due to lack of resources on one hand and international sanctions against Islamabad for examining atomic bomb on the other, the plan did not become operational. Finally by the agreements that were reached between Pakistan and China and China’s investment in this project, the first phase of the development plan started to be studied and constructed in 2002. In 2007 the construction of the first phase was completed and on 15th March 2008 Gwadar Port was launched by the entrance of a 70000 ton cargo. (www.psagwadar.com.pk)
The new plans for developing Gwadar were first proposed by the Prime Minister Parviz Mosharaf in 2007 (New York Times, Jan 2013).
Gwadar Port’s Construction Trends:
In fact construction of Gwadar is divided into two separate phases which are as follows:
Phase I (2002-2006)
As it was mentioned earlier, the first phase of this project was first introduced in 2002 and was completed in 2006 by the cost of 248 million dollars. The measures which were taken in the first phase are as follows (the official website of Gwadar Port www.gwadarport.gov.pk):
• Docks: construction of 3 multi-purpose docks with the capacity of commercial ships of 30000 tons
• Length of dock: 6.2 m
• Dimensions of the port’s entrance channel: 4.5 km length, 12.5 m depth
• Turn-round tank: 450 m
• Repair dock: a dock with the length of 100 m
• The required infrastructure equipment in the port including staff boat, hauler, researching ships and etc.
But as we are aware, development of Gwadar Port goes back to the financial agreement which was signed between china and Pakistan (CPEC) in 2015. At the time of signing the contract, China guaranteed to invest 1.62 billion dollars for the construction and development of this port based on BOT contract (China Daily News Paper, July 2016). The goal of this project was connecting Pakistan to western China.
The two countries plans for development and construction of phase II are:
• Construction of 2 container docks along 3.2 km of Gwadar coast
• Construction of 1 bulk cargo terminal
• Construction of 1 grain special terminal
• Construction of 1 Ro-Ro terminal
• Construction of 2 oil terminals
• Port’s entrance channel: the depth of channel will be increased to 14.5 m
• Construction of a four-lane highway to connect Gwadar Port to Makran Coastal Hwy
• Construction of a new airport
• Construction of a gas terminal with a capacity of storing 500 million cube meters daily (for storage of the transported gas from Iran based on peace pipeline contract)
• Construction of special economic zone with the area of 2292 hectares
• Construction of water desalination center
• Construction of 360 MW power plant for electricity production with fossil fuel
Future plans estimated in phase II:
• Increasing port’s entrance channel to 20 m
• Constructing150 docks by the year 2045
• Increasing cargo arrival and departure capacity up to 400 million tons per year
But what draws the attention of each and every expert in the field of international transport is the reason behind Chinese investment in this new port and investigating the future of rival neighboring ports such as Chabahar Port in Iran.