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Gwadar free zone’s industrial units to start working by year end

KARACHI: At least 10 industrial units will start working at Gwadar port’s free zone by this yearend as the first phase of the zone has been completed, a senior Chinese official said on Tuesday.

Zhang Baozhong, chairman of China Overseas Ports Holding Company Pakistan (COPHC) said six of the industrial units are from China, while four are local and they are setting up projects related to edible and palm oil processing and automotive and services industries.

“A sum of $300 million has already been invested in the mega-project, while another approximately $200 million would be spent on phase-II for which the feasibility report is already complete,” Baozhong said, speaking at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FPCCI) event.

In January, former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi inaugurated the first phase of Gwadar Port’s free zone that would facilitate regional and global trade under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.

COPHC, the operator of Gwadar port, said more than 30 firms related to banking, fish processing and hospitality committed around $500 million of direct investments in the zone. The port was leased to China’s state-run company for 40 years.

Baozhong said Gwadar port is operational and the customs authorities have deployed manual one-customs clearing system to process import and export consignments. The web-based one customs system could not be installed at Gwadar port due to unavailability of interconnection infrastructure.

COPHC’s chairman said the port’s berth lengths would be increased to 1,500 meters from existing 600 meters while the approaching channels would be deepened to 17-23 meters through dredging, which would enable arrival of any type and size of vessel in the world. “Business community, government, local communities and chambers of commerce are extending support in the development of Gwadar, which is a popular investment destination for investors in China as well as in Pakistan,” he added.

Baozhong said Gwadar is the most efficient port in the country offering low handling charges, no demurrage, and infrastructure connecting to the rest of the country. “In five years, it will be the new economic hub in the region.”

Senior Vice Chairman FPCCI Syed Mazhar Ali said the apex trade body planned to set up a sub-office in Gwadar to serve as the information sharing platform for the business communities of China and Pakistan.

Balochistan government granted land for the development of FPCCI sub-office, while COPHC offered the body to set up a temporary office in their building in Gwadar.

SOURCE: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/326039-gwadar-free-zone-s-industrial-units-to-start-working-by-yearend

Gwadar opens new avenues of business, jobs

ISLAMABAD: Once an ignored tiny indolent fishing town located at the Arabian Sea in Balochistan, Gwadar has now witnessed a wave of development projects that is opening new avenues of jobs and business opportunities for locals and will lay a strong infrastructural foundation for the country’s future.

From 2013, the deep-water port is making its new identity. It has become fully functional since late 2016. Its free zone first phase and business centre have been constructed within an astonishing six months earlier this year and embraced its first liner in March. Now, people in the remote Gwadar could also enjoy speedy 4G mobile connection to interact with the rest of the world.

4G services launched in Gwadar

According to the port operator China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC), some 20 companies in different businesses have already joined the Gwadar free zone with direct investment of 3.0 billion Chinese yuan, or some $460 million. The annual output could reach more than 5.0 billion yuan after full operation of the enterprises.

Abdul Ghaffar, owner of a grocery shop and a restaurant near Gwadar port area, enjoys the development of the port.

“Around 150 people come to my restaurant for lunch and as many for dinner. In the past, my sale was very low, but now my earning has become better and I have also extended my business. In the past, I used to open my shop and restaurant occasionally when the port opened in 2008, but now I don’t close my shop because work is in progress continuously.”

MoU inked to address water shortage in Gwadar

Ghaffar, who came to Gwadar for a better future from Quetta in 2008, said, “I have seen a big change here. There was nothing in this area, but now several buildings have been built all around. Whenever there was rain, all ways were blocked here, but now things have changed. They (Chinese) have made a big thing from nothing.”

Ghaffar is an early bird who came to Gwadar. Now, thousands of people have migrated from across the country to Gwadar to grab emerging business and jobs opportunities since the launch of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Gwadar’s population has increased from some 85,000 in 2007 to 138,000 currently. The amount of mobile SIM cards issued in the area also jumped from about 100,000 chips to over 200,000.

Rahab Ali Meerani is a laborer who travelled some 1,080 kilometres from Shikarpur district in southern Sindh province to work on a project in Gwadar port.

Chinese Red Cross medical team to arrive soon

“I came here because in our area wages are not as high as in Gwadar.”

He added, “Chinese companies are coming to Pakistan and starting projects which are bringing a great support to poor people. Now, the poverty is being eliminated.”

“There was a lot of unemployment in Gwadar, there was only fishing work, which is not a regular job. Now people are getting a variety of jobs and they are very happy,” said Muhammad Ibrahim, a worker in Gwadar, adding, “I am very happy because this area is being developed. Some people say there is no development, but actually, development is taking place.”

Ibrahim has started learning the Chinese language to advance his contacts with Chinese people.

Gwadar ignites spark for science, discovery

Gwadar’s local people are also feeling the development impetus triggered by the rapidly developing port, construction of new roads, laying of new sewerage lines, establishment and upgrading of educational institutions and hospitals, construction of a new airport and installation of water purification plants in Gwadar due to CPEC.

Javed Mehmood, a local fisherman whose family is in the fishing business for almost one century, highlighted several development projects in Gwadar and said that “the port has developed, roads are being constructed, a road has linked Gwadar with China. First, we had only one hospital named Civil Hospital, now another hospital has been established.”

“Three people from my area now have got jobs at the port, possibly around two to three people from every area got jobs,” said Mehmood, who wished that all people in Gwadar get employed.

Gwadar port aims to become new Dubai

Liaqat Muhammad, who works in a fish preservation unit, also enjoys the development as their business has multiplied after the construction of a road linking Gwadar with Karachi, the country’s southern port city.

“Now, the road infrastructure has improved and we can send fresh fish outside. The distance we covered in 24 hours in the past, can be covered in six to seven hours now,” Muhammad added.

Muhammad couldn’t have a chance to visit the newly constructed port area, but he has watched many videos related to the port development and activities.

“A lot of development works are taking place here. Imports and exports are in progress at the port, expo centre has started. I have not visited the port yet, but I have seen the development through videos on my mobile,” said Muhammad.

CPEC starts bearing fruit for people

“In one or two years, our fish containers will be exported from the Gwadar port.”

Availability of the potable water is a common issue in Gwadar, and almost every person, whom Xinhua talked to, pinned his hope on China to solve their water issue. And the COPHC has signed a contract with the Balochistan government to provide clean drinking water to Gwadar.

Zulfiqar Bajwa, a tourist who came to Gwadar with his family from Karachi, told Xinhua, “I have come here to see the port because international focus is on it. As we have seen it, it will be one of the biggest ports in the world.”

“The future of our generations depends on it (Gwadar). When it will be completed, Pakistan’s status will increase in the world. It will bring great benefits to the Pakistani nation through industrialization,” said Bajwa.

SOURCE: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1710317/1-gwadar-opens-new-avenues-business-jobs/

Political squabbling hit Gwadar Port City development

QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo has said that the provincial government is forced to take loan for the development of Gwadar Port City as the federal government has yet to release the promised Rs1 billion for the project.

“Neglecting Balochistan is tantamount to neglecting Pakistan as the country’s development depends on our province,” said Balochistan CM while talking to the media after an open court at the CM House on Friday.

PTI moves resolutions seeking PM apology over Sanjrani remarks

Bizenjo said, “Our differences with the federal government should not interfere with the provincial development.”

Lamenting the federal government’s reckless behaviour in releasing funds for Balochistan’s development, Bizenjo said, “The federal government pledged Rs1 billion for Gwadar Port City but the amount has yet to be released. The developmental projects are being completed by taking loans from donors because we want to provide relief to the people of Balochistan in line with the promise we made to them.”

He said, “Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi should think about the whole country and keep political differences aside.”

Bizenjo – a man of substance

Regretting over the PM’s remarks against the Senate chairman, the Balochistan CM said, “Abbasi’s statement against Sadiq Sanjrani has astonished the people of Balochistan.”

On new appointments of candidates who passed the National Testing Service (NTS) test, Bizenjo said, “Appointment orders of successful candidates will be issued this week. We have pledged to provide jobs on merit, but unfortunately we are being held responsible for the previous regime’s mismanagement.”

The chief minister said, “If we had a competent regime in the past, today Balochistan would have depicted a better picture. Those who were involved in corruption are holding us responsible for mass joblessness.”

Bizenjo for eliminating joblessness, poverty

Sharing his views on the newly formed Balochistan Awami Party, the CM said, “The new party is a gift for the people of Balochistan as the province needs new leadership to address the myriad of issues existing in Balochistan. I will announce my joining of the party.”

Under CPEC: First container vessel anchors at Gwadar

QUETTA: 

The first ever container vessel MS TIGER under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project arrived at the Gwadar port on Wednesday, this vessel was escorted to the port by the navy ships, PNS DEHSHAT and KARAR where an impressive ceremony was held to welcome the ship onboard.

The new ship container service called the Karachi-Gwadar Gulf Express will connect the Gwadar port to the Middle Eastern hub of Jebel Ali as well as the neighboring Emirati ports.

PM to visit Gwadar amid concerns over anti-CPEC propaganda

CPEC is a game changer for Pakistan and its success is just a prelude to the economic prosperity of the country and hence has taken central stage in the economic, political and security calculus of not only Pakistan but the entire region”, said Commander Coast of Pakistan Navy, Rear Admiral Moazzam Ilyas while speaking at the reception ceremony.

He also said that considering the importance of the Gwadar Port as focal point of CPEC, its security is paramount. For this purpose, the Pakistan navy has raised Task Force 88 to provide maximum defence to the port and its surrounding areas.

Source: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1653969/1-cpec-first-container-vessel-anchors-gwadar/

CPEC is now connected with Central Asia by road network while bypassing Afghanistan

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: Central Asian cargo traffic will now link with Gwadar Port of Pakistan which is the flagship port of One-Belt-One Road (OBOR) project of China through China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), reports Dispatch News Desk News (DND) News Agency.

According to details, Central Asian cargo traffic will have access to Gwadar Port of Pakistan through Kashgar while bypassing Afghanistan as Uzbekistan is sending its first cargo shipment loaded on trucks to China through Kyrgyzstan,

CPEC route was already link with Tajikistan through Kashgar and Pakistan and China did dry run of CPEC last year from Gwadar Port to Kashgar.

Uzbekistan is sending its first convoy with an export cargo along the new transport corridor which is “Tashkent – Andijan – Osh – Irkeshtam – Kashgar route”.

Pakistan is linked now with Central Asia while bypassing Afghanistan
Pakistan is linked now with Central Asia while bypassing Afghanistan

The emergence of a new transport corridor between Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China was initiated by President Shavkat Mirzieev in May 2017. In October, a pilot car rally was launched with the participation of trucks from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China.

The products of exporters of Uzbekistan and neighboring countries will be delivered to the consignees by vehicles of the joint venture. Upon arrival at the final delivery point, the city of Kashgar, the column will depart on the return route already with the imported products.

Islamabad Bureau adds:

“Physically, Pakistan is now directly linked with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan through two routes diverting at Kashgar (Kashi) while Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are already linked with Kazakhstan through roads and railways”, said Agha Iqrar Haroon who is a Development Observer working in the region of Central Asia.

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The distance of a total length of 920 kilometers will be covered in 31 hours in total with 15 hours of rest time for trucks and 16 hours of run.

It is pertinent to mention that CPEC is a flagship project of China’s “One Belt One Road” (OBOR) initiative. OBOR will be critical bridge that will connect China with its neighbours in Central Asia and South Asia but will go as far as Middle East and Africa.

By linking China with the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf through Pakistan, CPEC will expand trade potential and enhance energy and security presence of China not only in the region but as far as Africa through Gwadar Port of Pakistan.

CPEC can be considered as a package that will boost Chinese, Central Asian and Pakistani economies by providing transport and energy: roads, bridges, gas pipelines, ports, railways, energy plants to Pakistan and a deep regional security mechanism to China while overseeing and manage safekeeping of Chinese assets.

Proposed by Chinese President Xi in 2013, the “One Belt One Road” (OBOR) initiative (program) is an estimated $5 trillion infrastructure spreading over 60-plus countries across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Chinese President considers this initiative as a “project of the century” and a biggest narrative that China is setting as an example in globalization by filling the gaps left by the US policy makers.

The “One Belt” part of it refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt while the “One Road” refers to the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road— a revival of the ancient Silk Road trading routes.

Source: https://dnd.com.pk/pakistan-is-linked-now-with-central-asia-by-road-network-while-bypassing-afghanistan/139428

China in talks with Baloch separatists: report

China has reportedly been engaging in low-key dialogue with Baloch tribal separatists for over five years. Talks have been held to appease the separatists in order to securitise the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which has projected investments worth of $60 billion.

According to the Financial Times, three people have shared details of Beijing being in direct contact with militants in Balochistan.

Pakistan looks to China, Saudi Arabia for succour

Beijing has so far maintained a policy of non-intervention in the domestic politics of other countries. However, the sheer magnitude and scale of its multifaceted investments in all windows of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) project have sharpened security sensibilities. The vision to create a “new Silk Road” of trade routes in Europe, Asia and Africa has led China to venture into conflict management.

It seems like Beijing is replenishing the void left by Washington, which went from being Pakistan’s war time ally to becoming one of its harshest critics on extremism.

The venturesome and risk intensive move by China has perturbed India, which fears China’s growing influence in the Global South.

The Asian Dream: Rabbani lauds launch of Mandarin classes

“The Chinese have quietly made a lot of progress,” said one Pakistani official. “Even though separatists occasionally try to carry out the odd attack, they are not making a forceful push.”

China treads into some of the world’s most complex conflict zones as it plans to connect a new silk road. South Sudan, Mali and Iraq are some of the places where China has heavy stakes in place.

Source: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1639841/1-china-talks-pakistani-separatists/

Rural areas : Govt committed to improving means of communication

SIALKOT: 

The government is utilising all available resources to improve means of communications evenly in urban and rural areas of the country, said Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif.

Addressing the laptop distribution ceremony at Government College for Women University, he said the basic concept for improving means of communications, was to bring far-off and neglected areas at par with the developed parts of the country.

The foreign minister said the mega project of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would play an instrumental role in bringing revolutionary change and usher in economic stability and prosperity, not only in the country but also in the whole region.  He was confident that Gwadar Port would emerge as the busiest port and play a dominant role in ensuring drastic economic stability and overall development of the country as well in the region.

Gwadar Port and CPEC projects would open a new vista of prosperity and development and enlarge the scope of employment opportunities for the people, he added. He added that the economic stability had become more vital at this juncture for making the country economically stable, bringing prosperity and boosting development process.

Asif said banishing of backwardness and elimination of poverty were on the top of government agenda and many steps had already been taken in this direction.

Source: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1638498/1-rural-areas-govt-committed-improving-means-communication/

CPEC to bring socio-economic benefit to whole region: Ziyu

China’s infrastructure construction tycoon says Pakistan is his second home

Beijing

Terming Pakistan as his second home, Vice President, China Communication Construction Company (CCCC), Sun Ziyu has believed that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would bring socio-economic benefits not only to China and Pakistan but also the neighbouring countries and world.
“I believe, the CPEC, a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping for the shared prosperity of humankind, will benefit China, Pakistan, neighbouring countries and the world,” he said while talking to APP in an interview.
He informed that CCCC, dedicated to the construction, investment, development and operation of infrastructure in the countries along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) including Pakistan, was already working on various projects including the Gwadar Port under the CPEC framework.
Sun said that his company was one of world’s largest port designers and constructors, leading designers and constructors of highways, bridges and well-known comprehensive city developer, “We are planning construction of Gwadar smart city.”
He said that last year, his company’s new contracts in overseas achieved the total value of US$41 billion, the turnover of US$20.3 billion and a total profit of US$ 1.35 billion.
Having experience of dredging, international designing and expressway and bridges building, the company would construct a dry port in Gwadar.
“We have selected a land measuring five square kilometres for the dry port,” he added. China Harbour, a subsidiary of his company, was working on construction of East Bay Expressway project, he said. The vice president shared that his company was likely to play a pivotal role in the up-gradation and rehabilitation of Pakistan Railways under the CPEC, the project was at the planning stage.
He informed that his company had built a total of more than 10,000 kilometres of highways and signed contracts or built more than 2,000 kilometres of railways around the world.
The Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge railway in Kenya completed and launched to operation last year had aroused the attention of Africa and the whole world, he said and added, “We are also accelerating the progress of such projects as the Nairobi-Maraba Railway in Kenya and the East Coast Rail Link of Malaysia with a contract value of nearly US$10 billion.
The vice president said that his company took part in construction of the bridges on the most important Karakuram Highway (KKH) in Pakistan, adding the project teams had almost become an emergency rescue squad for local government.—APP

Source: https://pakobserver.net/cpec-bring-socio-economic-benefit-whole-region-ziyu/

CPEC Western route to be completed by end of this year

ISLAMABAD  : 

The western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is going to be completed by the end of this year along with other 11 mega projects which were initiated in 2015-16.

The completion of those projects will reduce travelling time and boost economic activities.

“Hakla-DI Khan having the length 285km with a cost of Rs122 billion and 81km Zhob-Mughalkot costing Rs8.8billion funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will be completed by December 2018,” a senior National Highway Authority (NHA) official told The Express Tribune.

“The completion of these two projects will connect the port city of Gwadar with Quetta by Khuzdar,” he said and added, “With it the western route will become completely functional.”

According to the NHA the under-construction projects – the Hakla to Dera Ismail Khan motorway — is an important part of the western route of CPEC, and will reduce the travel time from Islamabad to DI Khan from five hours to just two-and-a-half hours.

It will greatly help the movement to the country’s southern cities such as Quetta and Gwadar.

Meanwhile, another important project — Khuzdar- Ratodero (151 km) that has been completed at a cost of Rs8.8 billion is all set to be inaugurated this year in April.

This project though is not part of CPEC.

NLC plans setting up international standard rest areas on CPEC route

“The significance of this project is that it will provide the much-needed connectivity between Balochistan and Sindh and also facilitate CPEC traffic originating from the Gwadar Port,” said the NHA official.

Other projects include the Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway (M-9) where 95% work has already been completed and will see the finish line in March.

The 136km, the six-lane motorway with the two-lane service road on either side, is being built on the BOT basis at a cost of Rs44 billion.

Being the country’s busiest section with over 30,000 daily traffic count, this motorway will be immensely helpful in catering to the commercial traffic originating from the Karachi Port and the Port Qasim.

Following the recent inauguration of the Lyari Expressway, M-9 will offer an added benefit to commuters to reach their destinations without facing the city congestions.

Gojra-Shorkot (62km) and Shorkot-Khanewal (65km) sections of M-4 are scheduled to complete by August with a cost of Rs17 billion and Rs22 billion, respectively.

Financed jointly by the Asian Development Bank and Government of Pakistan, their completion will reduce travel time from the federal capital to Multan to just 5 hours.

Lahore-Abdulhakim Motorway (230 km) is another important project that is expected to complete by May. Built at a cost of Rs 148 billion, the six-lane motorway will provide a swift and easy route between Lahore and Multan.

CPEC toll income — myth and reality

One of the important links of CPEC and the country’s longest planned motorway, Multan-Sukkur (M-5) is though scheduled to complete in 2019.

Its two sections — Multan to Shujaabad and Pano Aqil to Ghotki — will be completed this year. The 392km-long motorway is being financed by China at a cost of Rs294 billion.

Lahore-Sialkot Motorway (89 km) will be completed on the BOT mode by December at a cost of Rs44 billion. It will link the industrial city of Sialkot with the rest of the country, leading to swift movement of industrial products.

Islamabad Metro Bus (26.5km), another challenging project, is under execution and will be completed by the end of April. The project will link the traffic from the twin cities with the New Islamabad International Airport (NIIA).

Hazara Motorway (E-35) from Burhan to Shah Maqsood Interchange (47km) is already completed and open to traffic. The 15km addition is scheduled to complete by May, thus reducing the distance between Islamabad and Abbottabad to one-and-a-half hours.

The widening and improvement of GT Road section from Thokar Niaz Baig to Hudria Drain (10km) is underway and will be completed this year.

Source: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1633076/1-cpec-western-route-completed-end-year/

Balochistan’s population to be ultimate beneficiary of Gwadar port: Bizenjo

LAHORE: Minister for Ports and Shipping, Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo said populations living in and around Gwadar and the Baloch people in general would resultantly be beneficiaries of this project and construction of Gwadar port wouldn’t impact the construction of another port.

In an interview to DW Germany, Bizenjo while answering a query over Gwadar port, which is part of the multi-billion-dollar CPEC project and Iran’s Chabahar port’s impact on it, stated in a small place like Dubai there were many ports and hundreds were function smoothly in India.

He emphasized due to close proximity of Gwadar port to Afghanistan, Iran’s Chabahar port couldn’t pose a challenge to the latter and hence it won’t be impacted by it.

Also, when asked about talks about Pakistan through CPEC was converting into a Chinese economic colony and Gwadar’s local population being neglected, Bizenjo said Gwadar port was still in infant stage of its construction and no big industry was present in the city.

He added the impact of the project could only be measured once it got concluded and voiced his belief that local would hugely benefit from CPEC because China couldn’t amass a huge workforce for bringing to Gwadar.

Source: https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/02/08/balochistans-population-to-be-ultimate-beneficiary-of-gwadar-port-bizenjo/