GWADAR: After becoming fully operational, the Gwadar Port and Gwadar Free Zone (GFZ) would generate economic activities of around $10 billion per annum, besides creating thousands of new jobs, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Chairman retired Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa said on Monday.
“Soon after the completion of GFZ, a lot of manufacturing and trading activities will start, cargoes will move, and transshipment activities will increase,” Bajwa said while talking to the media here after reviewing the Gwadar Port and other projects under CPEC.
“We will continue to monitor the development work in Gwadar till all projects become fully operational,” he said.
The port’s infrastructural work has been completed by the China Port Holding Company at a cost of around $300 million and all four berths are fully operational.
He stated that during the last few months, over 67,000 metric tonnes of cargo had been handled at the port, comprising consignments mostly under the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement, which were then later transported to Afghanistan.
“A vessel carrying 8,000 cubic feet liquefied petroleum gas was due at the port on Tuesday, while another ship with 24,000 MT of diammonium phosphate fertiliser and feed cargo slated for Afghanistan would soon arrive in Pakistan from Australia,” he added.
“They built the port handling capacity, while the customs system is also in place to facilitate investors and traders,” Bajwa said, adding that efforts are afoot to increase port traffic for which concerned officials are pursuing logistic companies.
With regard to the Gwadar Port Free Zone, Bajwa said its first phase spreading over 60 acres of land had already been completed, with 47 enterprises registered. Six factories have been completed whereas three of them are fully operational, while six others are under construction.
He said the second phase would spread over 2,221 acres of land for which the China Port Holding Company has already lined up an investor who would need around 1,600 acres of land. The investor has pledged a direct investment of $3 billion in a single industry that would create 30,000 jobs.
“The Eastbay Expressway would directly take the cargo from port to M-8 for onward shipment to Karachi and the rest of the country. 94 per cent work on the expressway had been completed, which would hopefully be inaugurated in September,” he said. Regarding the reservations of fishermen on the expressway development, he said three bridges were under construction to address their concerns.
Similarly, he said, work on Gwadar Airport is also going on at fast pace while the technical and vocational institutes in the city would also be completed in October.
Bajwa said the prime minister had specifically directed to create maximum job opportunities in the area, with capacity building of the local youth by imparting them skill training.
He said the master plan of Gwadar City had also been approved, and was now at the implementation stage.
Moreover, he said the development of agriculture sector was a key area of focus under CPEC and informed that he had held a meeting with the agriculture community from Mirani and other areas of the province.
He said six Chinese companies were ready to sign lease agreements for 32,500 acres of land, on which they would develop a unique model of corporate farming.
“It would be the first agriculture model farm in Balochistan similar to those in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Sindh,” he added.