Gwadar Terminal: Reaching the Critical Mass
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The entire Gilgit–Baltistan energy corridor from Xinjiang funnels over the Khunjerab Pass and terminates on the seaports of Gwadar, Pasni and Ormara. Of these outlets, the China–Pakistan axis is working feverishly to develop Gwadar as the hub of a new land-cum-sea-based silk route to Xinjiang and western China. This fishing village of Gwadar had a population of some 5,000 as far back as in 2001. Today, it is emerging as a bustling city with a population of 125,000. An international airport and steel and cement plants are planned. Crucial are a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and a massive oil refinery that are primarily being planned to cater to the Chinese energy inflows. Work on the Gwadar port had commenced in 2002 and was completed in 2007. The port was operationalised in 2009.
- It has a 12.6-metre dredged channel and three multipurpose berths that give it a wharfage of 6.2 metres.
- In Phase II, the Chinese will add nine additional deep-water berths.
- So far, some $248 million has been spent on Gwadar. Of this, some $198
- Pakistan’s defence minister, Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, recently invited China to establish a naval base in Gwadar. The Chinese were understandably coy about acknowledging this fact so brazenly.