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Pakistan set to begin Gwadar shipyard project

Pakistan keen to ramp up shipbuilding capacity and revitalise economic growth

gwadar port pakistan
Pakistan has finalised the details for the construction of a new shipyard in Gwadar.
Image Credit: AP Correspondent

Islamabad: Pakistan has finalised the details for the construction of a new shipyard in Gwadar, the country’s deep seaport in Balochistan, with an aim to incentivise commercial shipbuilding and repair industry, create new jobs and spur economic growth.

Pakistan’s federal and provincial governments have announced a joint collaboration by signing an MoU for the establishment of Gwadar shipyard. The project in the strategically located Gwadar city is of “great regional importance” and also significant for the socio-economic development of Balochistan and overall Pakistan as it will “create employment for the locals” and boost revenue generation for the province, said Federal Minister for Defence Production Zobaida Jalal. Gwadar shipyard will offer shipbuilding and repairing as well as training facilities benefiting the whole region, she said. The project, which will begin after the completion of its feasibility study, is expected to take at least two to three years, officials say.

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan described the Gwadar Shipyard - a joint venture of federal and Balochistan government - as “a historic project” that would “usher the province in a new era of prosperity and economic development” with the creation of new jobs for the youth.

Gwadar shipyard benefits

“The shipbuilding industry is important for a country’s economy, prosperity and social development as it’s a job multiplier and a key industry that is closely linked with several other industries,” maritime analyst Commodore (R) Muhammad Obaidullah told Gulf News. This industry plays an important role in both the commercial and military sectors thus contributing to economic security and strengthening national security. China, Japan and South Korea are currently the three countries that dominate the global shipbuilding industry.

At present, Pakistan’s shipbuilding, repair and maintenance work is undertaken at the state-owned Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW). Since the mid-1950s, KSEW has built over 500 commercial and naval vessels of different types for both local and international customers. The biggest vessel built by Karachi Shipyard was merchant ship Al Abbas, a 28,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT) carrier. DWT is a measure of how much weight a ship can carry.

The new shipyard at the deep seaport of Gwadar with “improved capacity and state-of-the-art facilities will fulfil the modern shipbuilding and repairing requirements of Pakistan and also address the emerging demands of the regional countries, says Obaidullah, the founder head of the country’s first marine research institute, National Maritime Policy Research Centre. Gwadar seaport is located close to the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil transit chokepoint, and can become a regional maritime hub, he said. Gwadar port is also at the heart of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) connecting South Asia, Middle East and Central Asia


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