Gwadar will bring prosperity to the whole region
Editor's note: Cheng Xizhong, Visiting Professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law, Special Commentator of China Economic Net, former Defense Attache in South Asian countries. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of China Economic Net.
As an important infrastructure project under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CEPC), the 19-km-long Gwadar Eastbay Expressway Phase-I with a total investment of $179 million will be open to traffic from May 16.
The completion of the six-lane expressway will provide primary connectivity between Gwadar Port and its 2,281-acre-big Free Trade Zone (FTZ) and facilitate import and export transportation and cargo transshipment.
Now, China and Pakistan are cooperating closely. As Chairman of China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC), Zhang Baozhong said last year, Gwadar will become a regional logistics hub within five years.
The first phase of Gwadar Port Free Zone covers an area of 60 acres and has been successfully completed, while the second phase covers an area of more than 2,220 acres and is in the stage of intense construction.
On October 1, 2021, the construction of Gwadar Technical & Vocational Institute, an important CEPC livelihood project, assisted by China was completed. It will provide skill training for thousands of people every year and provide human resources for port enterprises.
The New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA), a $246 million greenfield project, being built in an area of 4,300 acres will be operational by September 2023.
Other projects under construction include Expansion of Multi-purpose Terminal including Breakwater and Dredging, the 19 km Gwadar Eastbay Expressway Phase-II connecting Eastbay Expressway Phase-I to New Gwadar International Airport, Fresh Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment Plant for Gwadar City, China-Pakistan Faqeer Primary School and Gwadar China-Pakistan Friendship Hospital Upgradation, etc.
Gwadar holds an important strategic position. The newly emerged port city of Gwadar is a hub of connectivity for the whole region. With its natural deep-sea port and strategic location, Gwadar can help China and Pakistan realize the goal of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Route, which will benefit not only China and Pakistan but also Central Asia, East Asia, Russia and the whole region of Eurasia, by becoming the region's key entrepot. After completion of all the projects, it will be the hub of commercial activities for the whole region and will completely change the trade pattern globally.
Development and prosperity of Gwadar will also cater to the local population by improving their livelihoods. Projects planned for the Gwadar Port City aim at capacitating Balochistan to its full economic, social, technical, and energy potential, and closely integrating it within the CPEC framework.