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
Places to Visit in Gwadar
1. Hingol National Park
Hingol National Park or Hungol National Park covers an area of 1,650 square kilometres (640 sq mi) and is the largest National Park in Pakistan. It was established in 1988. Hingol National Park is located along the Makran coast in southwestern Balochistan Province, southwestern Pakistan. It lies within sections of Lasbela District, Gwadar District, and Awaran District. The Gulf of Oman of the Arabian Sea are to the south. The provincial capital of Karachi is approximately 190 kilometres (120 mi) to the southeast on the coast.
2. Kund Malir Beach
Kund Malir is a beach in Balochistan, Pakistan located in Hingol National Park, about 145 km from Zero-Point on Makran Coastal Highway. The drive between Kund Malir and Ormara is considered to be scenic. The area is part of Hingol National Park which is the largest in Pakistan. Travelling time from Karachi is around 4 hours and there are no food and fuel facilities available on the way after Zero-Point. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in this world. However lacking the basic facilities like hotels, restaurants, fuel stations and no cell phone signals it still is worth visiting with a really calm peaceful and soothing environment.
3. Buzi Pass
Traveling on the Makran costal highway about 6 km away from Kund Malir one would be struck by the sublime beauty of the smooth road of Buzi Pass as it snakes its way through the mountain. Sitting in a car on the Buzi Pass one can enjoy the vast blue water of the Arabian Sea on one side, then turn your head and marvel at the grandeur of majestic mountains on the other side. When you look at the lofty peaks along the coastal highway you will observe the Princes of Hope and Lion of Balochistan.
4. Ormara Beach
Ormara is an old coastal town. When going towards Gwadar through Makran Coastal Highway Ormara comes in midway between Karachi and Gwadar. Its historical routes are linked with Alexander the Great, who stayed there with his army for a few days on his way back from the Indus region after conquering the lands of Sindh, Punjab and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regions of modern-day Pakistan in 400 BC. One of his generals, Ormoz, died there, and the present-day city was named after him. It is located 360 kilometres (220 mi) west of Karachi and 230 kilometres (140 mi) east of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea.