Nearly 40% of the desilting operation at Gwadar port has been completed, following the implementation of rapid action on the special directives of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
The desilting process is underway to restore the original depth of the navigational channel at Gwadar Port, allowing larger ships to operate smoothly. This will ensure seamless movement of all types of vessels and ease their docking without any interruption. A Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) official informed Gwadar Pro that the China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) has been conducting the dredging operation effectively.
“We plan to reclaim the natural and original operational depth of 14.5 meters at Gwadar Port at a cost of Rs 4.7 billion,” he added. He also expressed satisfaction with the pace of the operation. “Under the title ‘the maintenance dredging of a navigational channel of Gwadar Port,’ the project is expected to complete within 12 months, according to the agreement signed between CHEC and GPA,” he added.
GPA Director of Marine Operation, Capt Gull Muhammad, explained that the cost of the dredging process depends on many factors, including dollar fluctuation, fuel cost, and labor charges.
An official from the China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) said that although no desilting activity had taken place in the last 7 years, the port continues to berth and process mega-vessels, albeit at a reduced frequency, he stated.
Another GPA official informed Gwadar Pro, “Initially, we planned to start just one part of the dredging process in two or three phases at Gwadar Port, so around Rs. 1 billion was allocated in the 2022-2023 budget for partial dredging. Later, we decided to complete all the dredging at once. Hence, the project cost now stands at Rs 4.7 billion,” he added.
In response to a query, he said that CHEC won the contract for maintenance dredging construction on the forward swing waters and the approach channel of the Gwadar Port Terminal after an official bidding process launched by GPA last year. This will ensure smooth ship movements in the entry channel, which is crucial for the future development of Gwadar Port.
CHEC is a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company (CCCC). It provides infrastructure construction services such as marine engineering, dredging and reclamation, road and bridge construction, railways, airports, and plant construction. CHEC is the world’s second-largest dredging company, executing projects across Asia, Africa, and Europe.