Gwadar Port is now open for transit trade and the first ship is due to arrive next Tuesday, says the Ministry of Maritime Affairs.
The sub-committee of the senate standing committee on Maritime Affairs, in its meeting on Tuesday, reviewed various issues of Gwadar Port and its investors.
Talking about transit trade and transshipment, the committee discussed that the Afghan Trade Transit Module requires some changes that have been applied and after initial testing, seems ready for application.
Gwadar’s main competitors will be Singapore and Dubai ports since incentives such as no cargo demurrage charges and a three-month storage facility will divert business to Gwadar. Concerning storage facilities for fish processing within or outside the port, the committee was assured that Chinese companies will not be charged extra taxes.
Convened by Senator Kauda Babar, the meeting was attended by Senator Moula Bux Chandio, Senator Muhammad Akram and senior officers from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Gwadar Port Authority, FBR and PTCL, among others.
Discussing the progress on recommendations of the sub-committee meeting held on 20 September 2019, a compliance report was submitted on the recommendations.
Probing the matter of internet connectivity and quotation of Rs. 14 million issued by PTCL for work related to optic fiber connection and installation, the committee was informed that PTCL has now agreed to the setup.
The matter is being handled by PTCL and COPHC. The committee was of the view that distance from the gate to the pole was a maximum of 3 km as opposed to 6.4 km that has been quoted. Charges are therefore exaggerated. The committee was informed that right of way charges will apply and local administration will have to be consulted for this.
Regarding the WeBOC system, FBR was of the view that a fiber optic connection would expedite work, which is much faster compared to the currently available radio connection.
Fish Dumping and Reprocessing Facilities
While discussing legal framework/rules/regulations pertaining to fish dumping and reprocessing facilities at Gwadar Port to local/foreign investors and Chinese companies, Senator Kauda Babar said that a resolution must be passed to employ the local population for jobs at the facility.
The committee was informed that issues such as the absence of monitoring and control services has created huge hurdles. The committee has ordered that all efforts must be made to pursue and resolve this issue at the earliest.
The committee recommended that trawling and policing issues must be discussed in detail and a uniform mechanism should be made for all provinces. Reviewing Eastbay Expressway Project at Gwadar, the committee was informed that a revised PC-1 is being submitted to ECNEC for approval.