ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has unveiled plans to develop Gwadar shipyard in order to promote merchant shipbuilding in the country on fast-track basis to meet the increasing national needs, sources said.

Sources in the Ministry of Ports and Shipping told The Nation that the development of Gwadar shipyard to build new generation commercial vessels would also enable Pakistan to compete with other regional countries.

The plan envisages constructing ships of very large crude carrier and ultra large crude carrier dimensions and mass, besides establishment of two drydocks to handle up to 600,000 dead weight tonnage.

According to the sources, the proposed Gwadar shipyard besides building the merchant ships would also help promote building of barges, survey vessels, tugs and tugs to support the port’s activities in the country.

The sources further said that some Chinese investors had also shown their interest to invest in the proposed Gwadar shipyard project.

The development also aims at leaving Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works Limited (KSEW) to meet the national defence needs.

Pakistan has so far been relying on the KSEW for merchant shipbuilding since its inception is undergoing infrastructure expansion and modernisation to uplift its capacity to meet the increasing needs of the Pakistan Navy. 

KSEW signed a $30 million deal with Norway-based TTS Group for the Syncrolift ship lift-and-transfer system that would link via rail the Syncrolift with 13 in-land workstations, enabling the KSEW to expand its capacity and ship turnover “by three times.”

Karachi shipyard is the only shipyard and oldest heavy engineering establishment of Pakistan , catering for shipbuilding, ship repair and general heavy engineering.

It has played a historical role in transferring of technologies and broadening the industrial base since its inception in 1957.

Karachi shipyard had built numerous cargo ships, oil tankers, tugboats and support vessels, landing crafts, naval vessels and submarines.