To restore Gwadar Port’s operational depth, more than six companies including Chinese enterprises have come forward as their final applications have been submitted for the official bidding to be opened on August 16.
Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) Project Director (Maintenance of Dredging) Mr Nadeem told Gwadar Pro that the bidding process aims to launch a de-silting operation allowing ships to float well.
“Out of more than six firms including Chinese enterprises, a Belgium–based company has also submitted the application,” he added. The total cost of dredging, he said, will be determined as per cubic meter considering the scale of operation and size of the area to be cleared from siltation.
On a query, he said that around Rs. 1 billion has already been allocated for the dredging process in current budget 2022-23.
“The Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) has invited firms or contractors having sufficient experience in the relevant field, financially sound and suitably qualified in maintenance dredging of the navigation channel in accordance with prescribed tender documents” he added.
GPA Director Marine Operation Capt Gull Muhammad also told Gwadar Pro that expenditure of dredging process will be hinging on many factors including dollar fluctuation, fuel cost and labour charges. He dispelled the impression that Gwadar port functionality to deal with ships has been badly hampered.
He admitted the fact that Gwadar Port lost its 14.5 metre natural operational depth but clarified that the depth has not been depleted to 11.4 metre as claimed.
“Within two weeks, Gwadar port handled a ship with a draught of 11.6 metres easily” he added. He further mentioned that the last time dredging operation got underway in 2015.
China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) official said that undoubtedly, no de-silting activity has taken place in the last 7 years.
However, it would be an overstatement to claim that the depth of the port has shrunk to mere 11.4 meters from 14.5 meters and subsequently faded away its capacity to handle mother vessels.
Indeed, he said that the port continues to berth and process mega-vessels, though with lesser frequency. Recently, two bulk carriers, Bao Quan with a draught of 11.6 meters and Teera Bhum with 10.9 meters draught and a deadweight tonnage of 24,238 tons efficiently berthed at Gwadar port.
Gwadar International Terminal Limited’s (GITL) Terminal official said that since 2015 COPHC came into action, Gwadar Port has hosted and handled more than “366” ships and vessels.
By the end of March, current year, Teera Bhum, a feeder service of COSCO liner, with 12.4 meters of draught berthed alongside, he added.