(By Yasir Habib Khan):-
China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) is all set to start de-silting operations at Gwadar Port to reclaim 14.5 meters of natural and original operational depth of Gwadar Port at a cost of Rs 4.7 billion.
It is a high-octane CPEC project that finally makes its headway at a watershed moment of the 10th anniversary of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a signature venture of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Under the title of “the maintenance dredging of a navigational channel of Gwadar Port”, the project will be completed in 12 months as per the agreement signed between CHEC and Gwadar Port Authority (GPA).
A GPA official told Gwadar Pro that “since earlier we planned to kickstart only one part of the dredging process in two or three phases at Gwadar Port, so around Rs 1 billion was allocated in 2022-2023 budget for partial dredging. Later, it was finalized to do complete dredging in one fell swoop, hence, now the cost of the project stands at Rs 4.7 billion”.
On a query, he said that having gone through the bidding process officially launched by GPA last year, CHEC won the contract of maintenance dredging construction on the forward swing waters, approach channel of the Gwadar Port Terminal to ensure ships’ moment in entry channel, facilitating their smooth flow, which is of great significance to the future development of Gwadar Port.
He added that GPA awarded the contract to CHEC after gauging technical assessment based on international experience and the financial worth of all participant companies in a bidding process. “The multi-million dollars project has a significant impact on Gwadar’s Port’s operations. It will pave the way for the construction of additional berths from the existing 602 meters in length to 1500 meters. Moreover, frequent dredging will help maintain the original depth of the channel, where vessels of any type can dock,” he added.
The total cost of dredging, he said, has been determined as per cubic meter considering the scale of operation and size of the area to be cleared from siltation. Gwadar Port had lost its 14.5 meters natural operational depth and now it has been handling ships with a draught of 11.6 meters. The last time dredging operation got underway in 2015.
CHEC, the award-winner of the dredging operation, is an engineering contractor and a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), providing infrastructure construction, such as marine engineering, dredging and reclamation, road and bridge, railways, airports, and plant construction. It is the second-largest dredging company in the world, carrying out projects in Asia, Africa, and Europe.