Port Technology reports that China has attained the right to manage Gwadar Port in a move that will give China direct access to the Gulf countries, as well as the option to construct a Navy base.
China has secured a deal to own and operate the port for the next 40 years and has previously announced its intention to modify Gwadar into a ‘Port City’. The move is further evidence of China’s propagation of its Maritime Silk Road initiative.
At present, China is constructing an economic corridor which will connect Gwadar to China’s Xinjiang with roads, railways and pipelines to transport oil and gas.
China is interested in Gwadar Port because it provides a direct route for the transportation of Middle Eastern oil via a 3,000km long land route from Gwadar port to Kashgar, a north-western Chinese city. Beyond the economics of the Pakistan corridor are strategic advantages: China is concerned that too much of its trade depends on the narrow sea channel of the Strait of Malacca, analysts said. In the event of a future war in Asia, the Strait of Malacca could be blockaded by the U.S. Navy or another competing power. Pakistan would provide an alternative land route for Chinese trade.
The project, which involves the building of massive cargo and container terminals, could link China with up to 20 countries and is anticipated to be completed by 2020.
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