Irshad Salim — Pakistan Senate’s Standing Committee on Defense Production on Wednesday recommended to the federal government to expedite efforts for the construction of a new state-of-the-art shipyard at Gwadar in Balochistan province.
Officials of the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works Limited briefed the meeting about the proposed shipyard. They said the summary to set up the shipyard had been moved to the Prime Minister and Planning Commission for approval. The panel was informed that investment from a Chinese partner (state-owned enterprise) was also available for the project on public-private partnership BOT basis.
The Committee expressed the concern that work on the proposed shipyard had been delayed for around four years and recommended that it should be started immediately. According to reports, the new shipyard may be financed from the ongoing $62 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor program package that seeks to provide China shortest route for trade and shipping –with Gwadar deep-sea port as the gateway, to the Middle East, Africa and beyond.
“We strongly recommend that efforts should be expedited to set up the shipyard,” said Senator Lt. General (r) Abdul Qayyum who is Chairman of the Committee. The Committee was of the view that the project would help increase economic growth, create job opportunities and help the Gwadar Port to expand exponentially in commercial terms.
Pakistan plans to eventually expand the port’s capacity to 400 million tons of cargo per year. Long terms plans for Gwadar Port call for a total of 100 berths to be built by 2045, with quays to accommodate as many as 51 ships of 300 meters length at a time.
Minister for Defense Production Rana Tanveer Hussain expressed the hope that the shipyard would soon get a go ahead from the government, report APP. “Initially, there were some reservations that instead of Ministry of Defense Production, this project should be with Ministry of Ports and Shipping.”
The meeting was also attended by Senators Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh, Nuzhat Sadiq, Rubina Khalid, Sehar Kamran, Brig (r) John Kenneth Williams and officials of concerned departments.