ISLAMABAD - Gwadar deep sea port is set for commencement of operations with new Chinese port operator China Overseas Ports Holding Company in December this year, sources said yesterday.

Pakistan has granted 40-year concession to the Chinese company which is currently working implementing expansion and development plan creating cargo handling capacity upto 300 million tons a year.

The previous concession holder M/s Port of Singapore Authority International had set up a Multipurpose Terminal at the port that could handle a total of 6.329 million tons of urea and wheat since December 2008.

According to the sources in Gwadar Development Authority (GPA), the existing Multipurpose Terminal has not even been utilized to its full capacity.

On the other hand, the new operator M/s China Overseas Ports Holding Company has commenced container service on short scale loaded with sea food from Gwadar Port.

The sources said that work various projects including provision of electric power and fresh water, hinterland connectivity as well as Free Zone of the port is going on in day and night.

Although the port is ready to receive ships, its optimum operations would start once hinterland connectivity is completed, businesses are started in Gwadar, Port Free Zone and required infrastructures are in place.

The port at present is operational with 602 metres quay length Multipurpose Terminal accommodating three ships at a time each of 50,000 tons deadweight capacity, one RORO facility and one service berth of 100 metre length for marine crafts for maintenance and refuelling. East revetment of approximately 1000 metres is ready in all respect for extension of present quay.

The total length of quay wall along the east revetment will be 4.7 km accommodating 22 ships of 200 meters each in the next phase of port expansion.

More quays will be developed along the western and north western shore a total length of 17 km accommodating 51 ships of 300 meters length.

The phase of development will have special focus on construction of Container Terminals in order to capitalize on the container trade.

The Gwadar port, the sources said, will also cater for the needs of transhipment as it will largely serve the landlocked Afghanistan and central Asia, Pakistan and China.