ISLAMABAD   -     Gwadar Port will soon start functioning fully for all kinds of imports, exports, and transshipments and for Afghan transit trade, a Senate panel was informed on Monday.

The sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affair held its meeting in Gwadar under the chair of Senator Kauda Babar.

The sub-committee got a briefing from the authorities concerned on functioning of Gwadar Free Zone and Afghan Transit Trade.

The convener of the sub-committee Senator Baba informed the participants that all arrangements have been finalised at the port to handle the Afghan Transit Trade and all other kinds of cargo ships.

The work on the 2003 acres of area of Gwadar Free Zone is under way and it would be completed by the end of this year, the committee was informed. At the moment, the work of construction of offices, storage hall and cold storage on 60 acre area of this zone is in the final stage of completion, the meeting was further told.

Senator Babar told the participants that the government had finalised all terms and conditions recently with the Afghan authorities to start transit trade from Gwadar Port. He said that the government would provide best and attractive facilities to provide investment opportunities to local and foreign investors. He further said that steps had been taken to improve the security of Gwadar.

He informed the committee that technical centres, with the funding of Rs12 billion, would be opened in the coastal cities of Gwadar district with the cooperation and assistance of China to provide vocational training facilities to the locals. He said that Expressway Road was an import project that once competed would connect Gwadar Port with Makran Coastal Highway.

On a complaint, the chair ordered the Customs authorities s add officials of Gwadar Port Authority and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to repair and restore the fiber optic cable and port operations software system at the port within two weeks.

The chief collector Customs, chairman Gwadar Port Authority and representatives of Chinese companies also participated in the meeting.