Pakistan and China have entered into a new advisory agreement to expedite the development of Gwadar Port, a pivotal element of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that has faced significant delays. This accord was one of 20 agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoUs) inked between the two nations.
Under this agreement, two Chinese state institutes will provide technical, intellectual, and consultation support to enhance the efficiency and speed of Gwadar Port’s development. Additionally, an addendum to the Mainline-I project of CPEC aims to reduce its scope and design, significantly cutting the construction costs from $6.7 billion.
Gwadar Port considered the linchpin and gateway to CPEC, has faced numerous challenges, including issues related to infrastructure development and industrial zone utilization. During the first decade of CPEC, Pakistan received $25 billion in investment, falling short of the initially announced $62 billion due, in part, to a failure to establish Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
Despite being fully capable of handling general cargo and achieving full operational capacity, Gwadar Port’s utilization remained low during the initial ten years of CPEC. Numerous projects in Gwadar, encompassing major and small initiatives, have encountered delays, resulting in issues related to the provision of essential services like water and electricity.
To address these challenges, Pakistan and China have signed multiple agreements and MoUs that encompass areas like connectivity, food security, research, media exchanges, space cooperation, urban sustainable development, capacity building, mineral development, industrial cooperation, climate change, and vaccine development.
One of the key objectives is the faster development of Gwadar Port, with Chinese state institutes providing technical expertise. There is also an emphasis on enhancing cooperation in the mineral sector, including geological and mineral surveys and development.