ISLAMABAD: The federal ports and shipping minister has said the government will soon upgrade the Gwadar airport to international standards.
Talking to the media in Islamabad on Sunday ahead of the Chinese president’s visit to Pakistan, Kamran Michael said that Rs26 billion have been set aside for the project, which will be inaugurated soon.
He said the Gwadar port was a key project for Pakistan and would have significant impact on the economic development of the country. “This port is the deepest of all ports in the Persian Bay, Arabian Sea and the ports in the Bay of Bengal.”
The deep-sea port at Gwadar is at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. It has been operational with three berths, each having a length of 200 metres.
Michael said in the light of an agreement signed in 2013 with the Chinese, the operational matters at the port were handed over to China, which would handle the port in consultation with Gwadar Port Authority.
He added the government was also working on a project of “East Bay Expressway” – a road network connecting the Gwadar port with other cities.
“This road may be called the main artery of the Gwadar port, as entire traffic and commercial operations will be carried through this network,” he said. “This will help the investors for easy access to the free trade zone.”
The minister claimed the port authorities had acquired 2,281 acres land for building roads, as the port was the gateway to China and the progress of the country and the region was related to it.
With Chinese President Xi Jinping coming to Pakistan today, the port would be high on his agenda in talks over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which would connect Kashgar in China's Xinjiang region to Gwadar.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2015.
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