12th March 2018, Tariq Haleem, Vice President FPCCI while addressing the audience at the inaugural ceremony of the liner service to Gwadar Port by vessel MS Tiger on 7th March, 2018 said that it was indeed a very historic occasion.
He further said that today is a success story under the auspices of China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC). The very basic infrastructure has been put in place, thus paving the way for upcoming projects and also enhancing the facilities to be put on fast track.
Tariq Haleem said that FPCCI with COPHC has been working for sometime to ensure commencement of regular cargo shipments at Gwadar Port to send a message to the world community that Gwadar Port is now operational.
He also mentioned that Gwadar port is seen as a "FUTURE JEWEL" in the Pakistan China CPEC flagship of China’s "One Belt One Road" which is initiative to build a new silk road of land and maritime trade routes across Asia and beyond. Gwadar port will Inshallah very soon be a major transshipment hub and a mega port.
It has been mutually agreed that FPCCI and Provincial Government of Baluchistan will sign a MoU for cooperation for attracting investments and FPCCI will also advise on the master plan for Gawadar.
Tariq Haleem also mentioned that COPHC has assured that they will be providing special rates / benefits & services not only for all cargoes but also special concessions for Afghan Transit cargoes. The first priority is now to immediately attract Afghan Transit cargoes at Gwadar Port and also to promote transit of Fertilizer cargoes for Afghanistan via Gwadar Port. By getting concessions / benefits for Afghan Transit cargoes from COPHC, FPCCI / COPHC will also be acting as a bridge for better relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Tariq Haleem congratulated the Chief Minister of Balochistan, Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo who has made a very wise decision by appointing Hussain Islam as advisor on GDA and BCDA with the status of provincial minister. He said Hussain Islam belongs to the shipping sector and I am also from the shipping sector. I am confident that he will put in all his efforts to ensure exemplary development of Gwadar port as a progressive modern port and an industrial complex.
He said presently Pakistan is exporting wheat in bulk and more than 1 million tons will be exported from Punjab. Therefore congestion at both Karachi Port and Port Qasim is expected. We at FPCCI feel that this is an opportune time to divert some ships to Gwadar for loading of Wheat export cargoes.
Tariq Haleem also discussed this matter with Hussain Islam (the Advisor to the Chief Minister) and he in turn discussed with the Chief Minister Balochistan Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo to consider a subsidy for the extra transport costs. A confirmation was received that the Chief Minister has agreed to above suggestion.
Tariq Haleem further said that If we work intelligently / plan properly, we can coordinate the import of rock phosphate, seeds and scrap in ship loads to Gwadar. These import cargoes are also destined for Punjab. Therefore transport can move both ways i.e. with export wheat cargo from Punjab to Gwadar and import cargo of rock phosphate, seeds and scrap etc. to Punjab which will hopefully result in bringing down the extra transport costs.
Furthermore Tariq Haleem said that two major cement manufacturers namely DG Khan Cement and Attock Cement who are located at hub district of Balochistan have already expanded their production capacities by a total of about 3.75 million tons and It would be convenient and economical for these cement industries to export cement and clinker in bulk and bag condition from Gwadar Port. Consequently this would also generate two way transport movement from & to Gwadar which would help in reducing the cost of transportation.
Tariq Haleem took this opportunity to thank the chief minister of Balochistan Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo for his kind gesture of acceding to FPCCI request for the promotion of Gwadar port. The Chief Minister has very kindly agreed to grant subsidy for extra transport cost and to provide free of cost office space to FPCCI at Gwadar. FPCCI has gladly accepted this offer and will establish its office at Gwadar to promote and utilize the facilities for the mutual benefits / objectives of the business community and COPHC.
Tariq Haleem expressed his expectation that COPHC will capitalize on this unprecedented initiative by the Chief Minister of Balochistan Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo.
Tariq Haleem also mentioned that Gwadar has great potential for the development of Tourism because of its azure water and attractive white sandy beaches, temperate climate and friendly people. During winter cruise ships from Europe move towards the gulf region mostly to UAE ports on a seven day cruise, Hence Gwadar should be developed to provide an alternate destination which would boost the tourism industry. FPCCI in cooperation with COPHC is already making efforts to attract cruise ships / tourists to Gwadar.
Tariq Haleem said that the efforts put in to organize Gwadar Expo 2018 during January was a great success in projecting the benefits to be achieved for the investors at Gwadar. He also said that FPCCI members are keen to invest and setup projects at Gwadar.
COPHC has also assured FPCCI of their continued support for the LOCALS of Gwadar.
Tariq Haleem also took this opportunity to also request the customs authorities to expedite required permission / infrastructure for commencement of WeBOC i.e. I.T. related issues at Gwadar Port.
On behalf of FPCCI Tariq Haleem signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Zhang Baozhong, Chairman CEO COPHC on 7th March, 2018.