Gwadar (گوادر) is a port city on the southwestern coast of Pakistan’s Balochistan province where the Arabian Sea meets the Persian Gulf just outside the Strait of Hormuz near key shipping routes in and out of the Persian Gulf. Under development as a free trade port, it is the district headquarters of Gwadar District. It is about 700 km from Karachi and 120 km from the Iranian border. Gwadar was an overseas possession of Muscat and Oman from 1783 to 1958. On 8 September 1958, Pakistan purchased Oman’s exclave for 5.5 billion rupees, effective 8 December 1958. Most of the money for the purchase came from donations, Muhamad Najmul Hasnain, Muhammad Abdullah Khan contributing the most. The government paid the remainder through taxes.The area was integrated into Balochistan province on 1 July 1977 as the Gwadar District subdivision.
Gwadar Port is a strategic warm-water deep-sea port developed jointly by the Government of Pakistan and the Government of China at a cost of USD $248 million. Before its development as a port city, the town was a fishing village.
In 2013, Gwadar Port operations were officially handed over to China. Under the contract with China, the port will be further developed into a full-scale commercial port, with an initial construction investment of $750 million. The port is said to be strategically important to China because it will enable China to more safely and reliably import oil. Currently, sixty percent of China’s oil must be transported by ship from the Persian Gulf to the only commercial port in China, Shanghai, a distance of more than 16,000 kilometres. The journey takes two to three months, during which time the ships are vulnerable to pirates, bad weather, political rivals, and other risks. Using Gwadar port instead will reduce the distance these ships must travel and will also enable oil transfers to be made year-round.
In February 2013, Iran announced it would set up a $4 billion oil refinery in Gwadar with an estimated capacity of about 400,000 barrels per day. According to the plan, the Iranians will also construct an oil pipeline between its territory and Gwadar to transport crude oil for processing.
Gwadar Port Construction
Gwadar Port was developed by the Government of Pakistan at a cost of USD $248 million. Phase I covered building of three multipurpose berths and related port infrastructure and port handling equipment. Phase I of the Port was completed in December 2006. Gwadar Port is being constructed in two phases:
Phase I (2002-2006): USD $248 million. Status: Completed in December 2006
- Berths: 3 Multipurpose Berths (capacity: bulk carriers of 30,000 deadweight tonnage
- (DWT)) and container vessels of 25,000 DWT)
- Length of Berths: 602m
- Approach Channel: 4.5 km long dredged to 12.5m depth
- Turning basin: 450m diameter
- Service Berth: One 100m Service Berth
- Related port infrastructure and handling equipment, pilot boats, tugs, survey vessels, etc.
Phase II (2007–present): USD $932 million. Status: Under Construction
- 4 Container Berths
- 1 Bulk Cargo Terminal (capacity: 100,000 DWT ships)
- 1 Grain Terminal
- 1 Ro-Ro Terminal
- 2 Oil Terminals (capacity: 200,000 DWT ships each)
- Approach Channel: To be dredged to 14.5m depth