Gwadar is a deep-sea port situated in the Arabia Sea at Gwadar in Baluchistan, Pakistan. Gwadar Port importance is evident since it is a primary project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It is expected to create a future link between the massive projects of Maritime Silk Road and One Belt One Road (OBOR). The port grabbed the attention back in 1954. The construction of the port was not confirmed until Pervaiz Musharraf launched it in 2007 after incurring a cost of $248 million expense during the four years of its construction.
Later 2015 manifested that the Gwadar city and the seaport would be constructed under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) at a cost of $1.62 billion with an objective to connect Western China with the Northern Pakistan through the Gwadar seaport. This port would also be made as a site for floating liquefied natural gas which will be developed as an extended part of Gwadar-Nawabshah part of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.
Gwadar Special Economic Zones were built on around 2,292-acre site nearby Gwadar Port. 2015 marked the Gwadar Port being officially leased to China for the next 43years until 2059.
The project of Gwadar Sea Port officially got operational in November 14th, 2016 and launched by Pakistan’s Former Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. The first fleet was sighted by Former Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif.
Gwadar Port History
Gwadar was considered as a site first time in 1954 when it was under Omani rule. Pakistan involved United States Geological Survey for conducting a survey at the shoreline. Worth Condrick, the surveyor (USGS) identified that a land is a suitable place for the seaport. After a hard struggle and well-considered negotiations spanned on four years, Pakistan purchased the Gwadar enclave from Oman for US$ 3 million on September 8th, 1958 and it became a part of Pakistan on 8th December officially after being ruled by Oman for 200 years.
A little dockside was built in 1992 but the official proposals for its construction were revealed later in 1993. The Federal Government gave approval for the construction of a port in 1995 but the lack of funds put the construction work to a halt. A special task force was also formed to focus Gwadar as a core and potential land for development but it didn’t get any breakthrough start because of economic sanctions imposed on the country due to the nuclear tests conducted by Pakistan in May 1998.
The year 2002 marked the construction of 1st Phase of Gwadar Port project after the agreement signed by Chinese Premier Zhu Rongii on his visit to Pakistan. The construction of Phase 1 ended in 2007. “Pos Glory” had the honor to be the first commercial cargo container to anchor at the port worth 70,000 Metric Tonnes of Wheat on March 15th, 2008.
Gwadar Port Highlights
- Gwadar Port will act as a port for western China through Karakoram highway
- It will act as a port for new lands of Central Asia
- It will enhance the economic development of Baluchistan province and the country overall
- It is located on the vitally important key sea route to the Straits of Hormuz
Gwadar Port Importance
- Gwadar Port is placed near the Iranian border in southwestern Pakistan
- It is located on the shores of the Arabian Sea
- The Port has situated 533 km from Karachi city and almost 120 km from Iran border.
- It is 380 km (240 miles) away from Oman and is near Persian Gulf’s key oil shipping lanes
- The Port’s surrounding region is the hub of world’s two-thirds of oil reserves
- It is the closest warm water seaport to the surrounded by the land rich in hydrocarbons for Afghanistan and Central Asia Republics
- The port located on a rocky extension in the Arabian sea that makes a hammerhead-shaped isthmus (peninsula) which is over-hanged from Pakistan’s seashore.
- This peninsula is termed as Gwadar Promontory which divides the thin Padi Zirr bay to the west from the Demi Zirr harbor in the east with deep water.
Gwadar Port Importance for Pakistan
The development of Gwadar Port remained dormant until the year 2002 when it was handed over to Port Authority of Singapore (PAS) in Pervaiz Musharraf’s tenure. PAS proved itself not only inefficient to make Gwadar operational but also incurred a big loss by mishandling the project. It was given to China Later in Asif Ali Zardari’s time in order to accomplish the desired outcomes.
Pakistan will earn through freight and cargo handling charges as China, Central Asian states, and others use the port for trade. In addition, an industrial free zone is being established there as well which will be a center for manufacturing and port-related business and industry. It is also likely to generate 40,000 jobs.
Here are few major points that show the importance of Gwadar Port for Pakistan.
- Gwadar port is a strategically significant warm water ocean built mutually by the Government of Pakistan and the Government of China with an expense of USD $248.
- Gwadar project is an extended plan that includes the development of infrastructure, buildings, and rods.
- The expansion of Gwadar port will help Pakistan strengthen its regional relationships.
- 2013 marks the official beginning of port operations handed over to China that will be built into a gigantic business port.
- After Karachi and Qasim ports, Gwadar is the 3rd vital international port of Pakistan.
- Gwadar is located at the crossroads of global sea shipping and oil exchange routes.
- Gwadar city links the three major regions i.e. South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.
- It will promote tourism and overseas investment that will produce the employment opportunities for Baluchistan province and would help it to grow economically.
- Through this port, Pakistan would expand and utilize its capacity to explore minerals, oil, gas, hydrocarbons and other valuable resources of the Central Asian Region.
- It will facilitate Pakistan to monitor the Sea Lines of Communication from Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz.
Gwadar is located at the western end of Baluchistan shoreline on the opposite end of Gulf of Oman. A key link for the oil tankers traveling for Japan and other western nations outside Gulf. Increased trade from Central Asia and western China through Gwadar port trade ships of both region will travel from the Gwadar port route.
Through Gwadar Port, China will rise with a reliable balance of power in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea as a big threat to India and US for their regional gains. So it is equally important for Pakistan and China both.
Through Gwadar Port, Pakistan Navy will advance its capacity. Port will be a doorway to a gigantic exchange of trade to and from its docks. After taken over by China, this project has invited heavy overseas investment in Pakistan. Iran has revealed to set up the world’s largest oil refinery there to fulfill Pakistan’s oil needs fully.
Gwadar will cut down the ports in Strait of Arabia Sea and Strait of Hormuz. After the completion of Gwadar Port, it will be ranked among the world’s largest seaports.
Gwadar Port Importance for China
Gwadar port is a center of attraction for the China Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC) which Beijing foresees as a key link to compelling China to be the world power. The Gwadar port operations were handed over to China in 2013. The port is to be developed into a full-scale commercial port as per the contract. A major part of its work program is focused on the fast-track construction of roads, other infrastructure, and public building.
Gwadar is a deep-sea port located at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz, a vital location for China’s economic projects such as “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) and the Maritime Silk Road. It is the most economical route from China to the Central Asian states. At present, Chinese imports travel around 10,000 km from the Persian Gulf to China’s eastern region. Gwadar offers a much shorter, more affordable route for importing oil and gas from the Middle East and minerals from Africa. As the Gwadar Port provides China with unremitting access to the Arabian Sea, it will help the Chinese Navy to monitor oil routes and trade links to South Asia. It will also allow China to keep an eye on any Navy activities in the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.
- The Government of Pakistan has provided a naval base to China in Gwadar, and it is stated as an Economic Corridor to China.
- It will enable China to more safely and consistently import oil. At present, sixty percent of China’s oil is transported by ship from the Persian Gulf to the only commercial port in China that takes about 2-3 months. Therefore, it will save time and distance.
- Vulnerability to piracy, bad weather, and other risks will be lessened.
- Chinese goods flowing in the reverse direction will find a shorter and more secure route to the Middle East, which in turn would perk up trade.
- Competitive advantage over UAE with regard to economy and trade as it will be a gate to the Strait of Hormuz directly, by improving the existing links to the land-locked Caspian Region.
- Even if the Strait of Malacca is blocked by the United States, and under Indian influence, Gwadar will be a suitable alternative to Chinese trade in the Indian Ocean and to Western Asia.
- China can keep Indian activities under surveillance around the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Aden, Central Asia, and South Asia.
The Final Word
Gwadar Port holds great geostrategic and geo-economic significance for both Pakistan and China. It could surely bring tons of benefits. Once fully operational, it will become a vital source of regional connectivity. Other than Pakistan and China, the port will benefit local regional actors as well.
Also Read: Pak China Relations