Gwadar port can transform the centuries old ‘Silk Route’ into ‘Golden Route’
ISLAMABAD: The Gwadar port project can serve as a key to economic development of the country and change plight of the people of Balochistan if its real potential is exploited to bolster trade in the region.“ The Gwadar port can transform the centuries old “Silk Route” into “Golden Route,”
The Gwadar project has the potential to give boost to the present crippled economy of the country in a short span of time. At the same time it has the potential to take the country’s economy to greater heights and bring it in line with the developed countries,” Col® F Maqbool Afridi, Chairman Standing Committee, Gwadar Promotion and Development the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry(FPCCI) told APP here today.
He appreciated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his concrete efforts with regard to this port in order to run the country on its own economic wheels instead of adopting “beg and borrow” policy.
The Gwadar port has the advantage over all existing and contemporary ports of the region for its location where world business and trade converge and diverge.
He said due to its geostrategic location, the Central Asian Republics (CARS) had a short route to world markets and at the same time the developed countries had an easy access to the CARs natural resources.
He said Gwadar is only 1500 km from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan & Tajikistan. Secondly, African continent, especially Eastern side is very close from Gwadar. He was of the view the natural resources of Africa can be easily shipped to Gwadar and after due value addition; can be reshipped to the global consumer’s markets.
He said half of the world population (China & India) is connected through land and sea with Gwadar and will be potential buyers of the products of CARs/Africa. Similarly, he said the port is well poised to have transhipment as well as transit trade, adding Dubai is earning billions of dollars yearly from transhipment which is 700 km ahead of Gwadar and has to pass through Strait of Hormuz which restrict the ships movement.
He said oil rich Middle East’s oil shipped under our watchful eye from our coastal belt and the Gwadar is ideally located to have an oil refinery and LNG plant and the product can be shipped or piped to any country of the world short of energy. “For transhipment and transit trade there is not a single county which is dependent on Dubai and Iran, Oman and Pakistan have their own ports”, he remarked. He said for transit trade CARs and China’s West are dependent on Gwadar. “In case we are able to develop understanding with India, the western part of India will prefer to have transit trade through Gwadar as it lies at shorter distance than Indian ports”.
He said Gwadar is a God gifted natural deep sea port unlike the contemporary ports of Iran and Dubai and has the capacity to have 88 berths and ability to anchor mother ship of 1,00,000 – 2,00,000 DWT. Being a natural deep sea port it requires less maintenance cost as compared to other ports. The ports attract business and trade like a magnet, mainly due to cheap sea transportation. Similarly Gwadar port has the potential to address the unemployment of the country coupled with the economic growth for the years to come. He said the business and job opportunities created enroute from south (Gwadar) till north (Khonjrab),will benefit all provinces of the country immensely.
He said the construction of road – rail network from Kashgar to Gwadar is a gigantic task but not impossible and financially sound. China, her technological know how and her desire of expansion of the trade and business from her western part to reach to the world markets through Gwadar can make this fantasy a reality without involving Pakistani Rupee.
To provide security to the Chinese and the investors the local and Balochistan province should be on board and their all queries and worries be addressed sincerely at all levels, he added.
Similarly, taking the regional and international powers into confidence for the commercial use of the port, the economic interdependence at the country; regional and international levels will automatically guarantee security to all actors along with evolving conducive business environment, he remarked.