The master plan for making Gwadar as a smart port city is being prepared on fast track and would be finalized soon, official sources in planning commission said.
Talking to APP, the sources said that under the master plan Gwadar would be transformed into a port of international standards and a smart, sustainable city that can drive local, national and regional growth in the coming decades. They said the development of Gwadar is a strategic priority for the Government of Pakistan.
“The commercial, political, socio-economic, defense and regional connectivity related benefits that can be realized once the port (and the city) reaches its full potential make it imperative to develop the area without any further delay”, they said.
Lying at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, Gwadar is a strategic warm water deep sea port developed by the GoP with assistance from the People’s Republic of China.
Inaugurated in 2007, the port is ideally located to serve the shipping lanes coming in and out of the Persian Gulf via the choke- point of the Strait of Hormuz.
According to the plan, the city around a port would be planned carefully in order to lay the foundation of a sustainable regional economy, drive local business and increase port throughput.
With the inclusion of the port in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC), there is an urgent need to update the existing city plans to reflect the new strategic direction.
It is pertinent to mention here that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor project is already in the early stages of execution and comprises of a comprehensive package of motorways/expressways, national and urban railways, high- speed fibre-optic connectivity and associated urban and social infrastructure, stretching from Kashgar (in China) to Gwadar (in Pakistan).
Under the plans for the corridor, it is envisaged that the port would be declared a ‘free’ port (to facilitate trans-shipment) and the city would be declared a ‘Special Economic Zone’, in order to spur trade and investment.
In addition, the confluence of physical, social and intellectual capital with Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure will be integral to the revised plan, in order to ensure that Gwadar City is developed along the lines of an integrated ‘Smart’ port city – a city that would leverage information technology-based solutions to boost the economic productivity and quality of life of its citizens, whilst minimizing resource consumption and pollution.—APP