The Pakistan Navy Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi announced that the Pakistani government approved plans to construct a new shipyard in Gwadar, the country’s new deep-sea port and an integral piece to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The CNS stated that it would take three to five years to complete the shipyard. Construction will begin in the near-term. Lauding the step, Adm. Abbasi stated, “Technical know-how and basic industrial infrastructure to support Research and Development (R&D) is available in the country. However, it is time to integrate and optimize these facilities with a view to further strengthen the process of self-reliance.”
Following up proposals in 2008 plans to construct new shipyards in Gwadar and Port Qasim have been in place since 2014, albeit with the aim of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) and spurring private sector growth in shipbuilding. Pakistan believes shipbuilding would be a good avenue for generating employment and supporting economic growth in the country. Under the framework defined in 2008, Gwadar would be the first to have a new shipyard. Initially, Gwadar would offer ship repair and maintenance services, but it would eventually transition to constructing Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) and Ultra Large Crude Carriers (ULCC). Gwadar Shipyard was to have two dry docks with the capacity to handle 600,000 DWT (deadweight tonnage).
Currently, the entirety of Pakistan’s shipbuilding, maintenance, and repair work is undertaken at the state-owned Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW) . In parallel to building new shipyards, Pakistan is also modernizing KSEW. In July 2017, it awarded a $30 million U.S. contract to TTS Group for its Syncrolift ship-lift-and-transfer system, which will connect by rail to 13 in-land sites for construction and service work.