Gwadar, Balochistan was once just a small village for fishing on the shore of the Arabian Sea. But now it is become the most famous city in the world because of its geographical location and deep water sea port. With this port and linkage with China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Gwadar is going to be the next Dubai and Pakistan will become Asian Tiger by handling this port wisely. Pakistan has dreamed of this very long but this area remained underdeveloped because of financial constraints.
Background of Gwadar
The potential of Gwadar to be the deep water sea port was noticed in 1954 when it was under rule Oman. Later in 1958, Pakistan purchased this enclave from Oman against 3 Million USD and it became Pakistan’ part in December 1958. Many efforts took place for construction of the port in between 1992 to 2001 but failed due to the lake of funds and later sanctions against Pakistan following nuclear tests in 1998. In 2001, Pakistan & China signed an agreement and work started on Phase 1 in 2002, which was completed in 2007.
Economic & Strategic significance
Gwadar port and city have a great strategic and economic importance for Pakistan and China. It’s a gateway to CPEC, China Pakistan Economic Corridor. The project is widely considered as a game changer for Pakistan and it has great significance for Chinese trade. Presently Chinese goods take about 45 days shipping time from China to Europe; it will reduce to about 10 days. It will also link China with South Asia and Central Asia markets.
Free Trade Zone
In January 2018 the government of Pakistan announced Gwadar as free trade zone and it geared up the economy in the port city. It was a historic moment and beginning of dream turning into reality. This was a great step & will lead to make Gwadar a global trade hub. The future of Gwadar port & city can be imagined by Gwadar expo. It was a two days trade fair with a capacity of 150 companies to participate but there were more than 5000 companies interested to participate and about 25,000 peoples visited this event.
Rapid Development & opportunities
China Oversea Ports Holding Co. (COPHC) took operational control of Gwadar port in 2013. Now both Pakistan and China are making endless efforts to make Gwadar port and city the international business hub. Both governments and well-reputed companies from both countries are participating in the development of this area. Govt. and semi govt. hospitals, schools and housing societies are being developed as per international standards. PIA, Pakistan International Airline has increased the number of flights from Karachi to Gwadar and also announced to start new operations from Islamabad to Gwadar by the end of this year.
In year 2014, when Prime Minister of Pakistan and Chinese Prime Minister jointly announced that Gwadar is the flagship of CPEC. By constructing highways, pipelines, railway lines and power plants a great progress has been made in the year 2017. Millions of dollars are being invested by more than 30 Pakistani & Chinese companies. By improved infrastructure, worlds class facilities and added advantage of free trade zone, Gwadar city will become the great attraction for regional and global trade and tourism activities. It will also produce thousands of jobs, business and investment opportunities.