Gwadar is a port city on the southwestern coast of Balochistan, Pakistan. The city is located on the shores of the Arabian Sea opposite Oman. Gwadar was an overseas possession of Oman from 1783 to 1958. It is about 120 km (75 mi) southwest of Turbat, while the sister port city of Chabahar in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan Province is about 170 km (110 mi) to the west of Gwadar. For most of its history, Gwadar was a small to medium-sized settlement with an economy largely based on artisanal fishing. The strategic value of its location was first recognized in 1954 when it was identified as a suitable site for a deep water port by the United States Geological Survey at the request of Pakistan while the territory was still under Omani rule.
The area’s potential to be a major deep water port remained untapped under successive Pakistani governments until 2001, when construction on the first phase of Gwadar Port was initiated. The first phase was inaugurated in 2007 at a total cost of $248 million. The port initially remained underutilized after construction for a variety of reasons, including lack of investment, security concerns, and the Government of Pakistan’s failure to transfer land as promised to the port operator, Port of Singapore Authority.