Is Gwadar Set To Replace Dubai?

Is Gwadar Set To Replace Dubai?

In today’s globalized world, seaborne trade activities have become pivotal for any country’s economic welfare. Gwadar is all set to make the world Pakistan’s oyster. The port will not only help the country in terms of seaborne trade, but also help deliver it an edge over sea routes – as both a regional trade and naval power.

The port lies in the Pakistani province of Balochistan. With its geo-strategic and geo-political importance, it is set to enhance regional connectivity and become the hub of international business activities in the near future. In fact, many commentators believe that the newly developed deep-sea Gwadar port has the right kind of potential to replace Dubai port’s influence in the future, only if things go as planned.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, of which Gwadar is an essential part, will weave together most of Asia in to a single seamless trade zone. This, in turn, will enhance trade activities between different Asian and Middle Eastern countries, and earn precious capital for Pakistan.

Comparisons Abound

The main reason why most experts compare Gwadar’s port with that of Dubai is because both these sea trade centres are located at the cross junction of international shipping and oil trade routes. Both ports also provide direct access to the Indian Ocean, where 70 percent of the world’s petroleum trade takes place.In addition, Gwadar is a nearer stop for sea traffic than the Iranian Chabahar port or Dubai port.

Some More Advantages of Gwadar

Going by expert views, Gwadar’s port is more likely to support and benefit all Gulf countries, especially Dubai, rather than destroying their economic welfare, as is believed in some circles.China has been very aggressive in its diplomatic efforts in the recent past, and has reached out to Arab countries for economic ties.Consider this for a moment –the CPEC route will make it easier for Chinese products to reach Gulf countries by shortening the transit distance from 12,000 km to 3,000 km. In such a scenario, Pakistan will have a win-win situation on its hands, as it will act as the essential link between regional trade activities, while it improves its economic prospects.

For the most part, the port will complement the Dubai port, and Iran’s Chabahar port, rather than challenge them.In order to take Gwadar to Dubai’s level, the Pakistani government will have to move ahead quickly and develop the area into a mega city.It can take decades to reach that position though. Apart from this, the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) developed by the Chinese Over Seas Ports Holding Company (COPHC) is an excellent opportunity for Pakistan to strengthen its trade prospects with the Middle East and the Central Asian republics.

Gwadar in the Context of Sino-Pak Regional Relations

During the last decade, China has been strengthening its ties with Asian countries and has gone as far as the Middle East.In addition, Pakistan is the central point of the Chinese strategy, when it comes to linking the regional countries in a strong web of trade and commerce. In fact, the South Asian country is a frontline state in the Chinese policy of ensuring connectivity in the entire region.

Apart from having cordial business ties with Pakistan, China is also the main business partner of many Gulf countries, including the UAE. Currently, Sino-UAE bilateral trade stands at around $54.8 billion. It is believed that the CPEC will increase this amount two-fold.

Future Real Estate Potential of Gwadar

One main aspect of why Gwadar is held in such high-esteem by experts is due to its vast potential in terms of real estate development.The area is like a blank canvas, which is gradually being filled by local and international real estate developers by initiating residential and commercial projects.

According to, featured projects in Gwadar are some of the biggest in this country. Some important real estate projects mentioned in the list includeBurj Al Gwadar, Golden Palms Gwadar, Broadway Residencia and Sea View Heights.

Long Term Importance of Gwadar

Whether Gwadar will replace Dubai as the hotbed of international trade activities or not is a matter of discussion for the future, when construction activities take off in the southern Pakistani port city.However, for now, the importance of Gwadar cannot be downplayed since the port can reach the status of a central gate to the Strait of Hurmoz. Gwadar will also provide better trade routes to the land locked Caspian Region.Gwadar port will also allow Pakistan to exercise more control of its seaways and trade routes.

All in all, Gwadar has the potential to become the city of the future if the Pakistani government commits itself to this project of gigantic proportion and limitless opportunities. Who knows one day it might even surpass Dubai in terms of enterprising global appeal.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Lahore Times.

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