Gwadar is a port city on the southwestern coast of Balochistan, Pakistan, located on the shores of the Arabian Sea opposite Oman. For most of its history, Gwadar was a small/medium-sized settlement whose economy was largely based on artisanal fishing. The strategic value of its location was first recognised in 1954 when the city was identified as a suitable site for a deepwater port by the United States Geological Survey at the request of Pakistan. The area’s potential to become a major deepwater port remained untapped under successive Pakistani governments until 2001 when construction of the first phase of Gwadar Port was initiated. The first phase was inaugurated in 2007 at a total cost of $248 million.
In April 2015, Pakistan and China announced their intention to develop the $46 billion China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which also forms part of China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road. Gwadar features heavily in the CPEC and is also considered the link between the One Belt, One Road and the Maritime Silk Road project. $1.153 billion worth of infrastructure projects will be invested into the city as part of the CPEC to link northern Pakistan and western China to the deepwater seaport. In addition to the investments directly under the aegis of CPEC in Gwadar city, in June 2016, the China Overseas Port Holding Company began construction on the $2 billion Gwadar Special Economic Zone, shaping it on the lines of the Special Economic Zones of China.
A broad outer development plan of Gwadar City was finalised in 2019. The consortium has been hired for detailed masterplanning, horizontal and vertical development of infrastructure and structures.