Among the South Asian countries, Pakistan enjoys a special status as a traditional friendly neighbor of China and an all-weather strategic partner. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an important milestone in the history of China-Pakistan friendship and a model project among the six major economic corridors of the ‘Belt and Road’. It plays an important leading role in the integration of regional cooperation and economic integration. With the joint efforts of the builders of China and Pakistan, the Gwadar Port has become a bright pearl of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Gwadar Port is located on the southwest coast of Balochistan of Pakistan, south of the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean, and about 460 km from east of Karachi, 120 km from west of the Pakistan-Iran border. It is located near the Persian Gulf that has important strategic significance. It is the throat of several important sea routes from Africa, Europe through the Red Sea, the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf to East Asia and the Pacific.
Gwadar Port is an important port of Pakistan, and occupies an important geographical position in China’s overseas strategy in the Indian Ocean. Before the opening of the Gwadar Port route, Chinese shipping vessels must travel to the Indian Ocean from the Straits of Malacca, which is jointly administered by Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Now, the opening of Gwadar Port has directly solved China’s trade shackles on the west coast of the Pacific. The time for shipping goods from China to Middle East and Africa shorten more than a month, which will bring more trade opportunities to the western region of China.
The Pakistani government and people have long imagined the development of Gwadar Port. As early as 1964, the Pakistani government had this idea and signed the Guabang Investment Agreement with the United States in the 1990s. However, this plan had failed due to various factors. Singapore has also obtained the right to operate this port, but it has not been started for ten years. Until 2001, at the invitation of the Pakistani government, China decided to help build Gwadar Port. So far, the development of Gwadar Port has been implemented.. The first phase of this project was completed in 2005, and a multi-purpose terminal with three 20,000-ton berths was built.
In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan. China and Pakistan agreed to take the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as the guide and focus on Gwadar Port, energy, transportation infrastructure and industrial cooperation to form a “1+4” economic cooperation layout. In November 2016, Gwadar Port officially sailed, China and Pakistan witnessed the first batch of Chinese merchant ships sailing from Gwadar Port. In May 2017, President Xi Jinping mentioned Gwadar Port in his speech at the opening ceremony of the ‘Belt and Road’ International Cooperation Summit Forum and stressed to plan and implement“a large number of interconnection projects”. Today, Gwadar Port has been reborn and become the most important part of the construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. It will become a regional transshipment hub and regional economic center.
Since 2015, Gwadar’s port has been changing everyday, showing a thriving scene. China Port Control Co Ltd refurbishes all important components of the port and upgrades the power system. This year, the first phase of the port expansion project has been completed, and the follow-up construction is proceeding in an orderly manner: repair roads, add terminal handling equipment, upgrade the system of oil supply, desalination and sewage treatment, install port area monitoring systems, etc.
After China’s port control company operated Gwadar Port, the port added five container cranes, built a new 100,000 square meters yard, and added the most advanced container scanning equipment. The original 100,000-gallon desalination plant was expanded to 220,000 gallons, and two sets of sewage treatment systems and 80,000 square meters of green land were added, and a new petroleum liquefied gas receiving station was built. At present, Gwadar Port has full operational capability and can handle various businesses such as bulk cargo, containers, roll on roll off cargo, petroleum liquefied petroleum gas, etc.
Chinese freighter sails from Gwadar Port
The import of fertilizer was the only source of Gwadar Port, so the port operation was relatively single. Chinese managers had taken various preferential measures such as exemption from port charges, exemption from three-month cargo storage fees, reduction of port charges, and provision of land transport services to attracted more cargo ships to stop Gwadar.
In November 2016, Gwadar Port officially opened. The energy aorta will start from Guagang. After the smooth development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in the future, the time for oil and other energy sources from Saudi Arabia to Shanghai will be shortened from 30 days to 12 days, and the time to reach Kashgar in Xinjiang will be shortened to 5 days. On March 7, 2018, COSCO Shipping Container Transport Co., Ltd. opened up the Gwadar Middle East Express in Pakistan. Container ships are docked at Gwadar Port every Wednesday.
Most of the Chinese cargo ships are construction machinery, building prefabricated parts, heavy trucks and building materials. These materials from China not only guarantee the urgent need for the construction of Gwadar Port, but also meet the needs of other projects in the China-Brazil Economic Corridor. At present, the operation of Karachi port is almost full, and the opening of the Gwadar container route offers a opportunity to the majority of cargo owners.
After years of efforts, the Gwadar Port has finally achieved the goal of connecting with the world’s major ports, and will improve the status of Gwadar Port in the entire South Asian region of shipping, fundamentally solving the problem of gradual port construction after more than a decade has not been able to form commercial operations.
Besides, Gwadar Port is also an ideal estuary for landlocked countries and regions such as Afghanistan and Central Asia. A large number of transshipment goods to Afghanistan and Central Asia can be accessed through Gwadar Port, which is beneficial to Pakistan and even South Asia and Central Asia economic prosperity.
The head of China’s port control said the construction of Gwadar port not only saved time for the import and export of Chinese goods, but also benefited Pakistan and neighboring countries from the trade boom.
Development results of Gwadar Port
South Asia is a close neighbor of China and has close trade relations with China. It is also one of the most important areas for the development of kinetic energy and potential growth among the important partners of the ‘Belt and Road’. According to the recently released “One Belt and One Road” Trade Cooperation Big Data Report 2018, the trade volume between China and South Asia in the ‘Belt and Road’ countries has grown steadily in 2013-2017, and the total import and export volume in 2017 has reached US$127.18 billion. Among them, China’s exports to the ‘One Belt, One Road’ countries in South Asia reached US$107.8 billion, an increase of 11.5% compared with 2016; China imported US$19.38 billion from the ‘Belt and Road’ countries in South Asia.
“The country’s diplomatic ties are related to the sincere communications of people in different countries”. The construction and development of Gwadar Port not only nourishes the local economic progress, but also benefits the ordinary people of Pakistan.
In the fishing towns with a population of less than 100,000, lack of water and power and infrastructure, the daily life of people has many inconveniences, and the educational and sanitary conditions should be improved. After the construction of Gwadar Port, the Chinese company installed a 5.5 million gallon desalination facility with daily processing capacity, which not only meets the needs of production and living in the port, but also solves the problem of drinking water in Gwadar. The Pakistani government is working to provide 1 million gallons of fresh water to local people every day.
In addition to infrastructure construction, Chinese companies actively fulfilled their social responsibilities, donated funds to help them, helped the poor, and improved medical conditions. They gained affirmation, gained praise, and gained the hearts of the people.
Gwadar’s educational development is relatively backward, and the teaching infrastructure and teaching resources are seriously lacking. On September 1, 2016, the China Peace Development Foundation’s Ciba Farr Elementary School, which was donated by Gwadar, was completed and welcomed the first batch of students.
The entire campus is clean and tidy, equipped with children’s play facilities and brand new generators. Chinese embassies in Pakistan, Chinese-funded enterprises and local Chinese regularly donate school uniforms, books, and sports goods. China Port Control Company donated three brand new school buses to Gwadar Primary School, which solved the difficulties of local primary school students to travel long distances. They also regularly received school students from ports and free zones. At present, Fahul Elementary School has become a local model school.
The completion of Gwadar’s Bafacur Primary School attributes to the joint efforts of Chinese and Pakistani governments and the selfless dedication and full support of the local people. A local old man named Muhammed donated his 752.44 square meters of land to help the government build a Facur Primary School, which has become a good story of China-Pakistan friendship in the new era. According to relevant media reports, the old man donated land, said excitedly: “When I heard that China is going to help build a school. I am very happy, this is an opportunity. I want to leave this land to the children. I know what education means to the locals, and I will never regret giving my land to the future of Balochistan. If I had any other land, I would have donated it. We thank China for making our region so important. ”
Today, more than 400 students study in bright and clean classrooms. A desire for knowledge, a vision of the future and a strong desire to change their destiny are filled with every child’s eyes.
In response to the medical difficulties of the Gwadar people, in May 2017, the first emergency center of the China-Brazil Economic Corridor — the Gwadar Ciba Ai Medical Emergency Center, was successfully completed in Gwadar. At present, the medical equipment and emergency vehicles required for the emergency center have arrived at Gwadar Port and have been installed and commissioned.
At the same time, 12 members of the Chinese Red Cross Volunteer Medical Team have been stationed in Gwadar Port for a two-year medical service. China Hong Kong Control is also one of the first donor enterprises to serve the construction of the ‘Belt and Road’ special public welfare fund Silk Road Fraternity Fund, providing land support for the construction of the China-Pakistan emergency corridor.
In order to integrate more harmoniously into the local society, The China Port Control Corporation has promoted traditional Pakistani social customs for all Chinese employees, actively assisted the relevant charities of China and Pakistan to carry out social welfare activities, and actively carried out the work of helping and helping the poor. Through the local government selected 14 poor families for one-on-one poverty alleviation. Help these families through special recruitment, targetehttp://www.pakistangulfeconomist.com/tag/crude/d purchase services, etc. Hu Yaozong, deputy general manager of the China-Hong Kong-controlled Guagang Free Zone, told reporters that “it is better to give people fish than to give people to fish”, the most important thing is to help poor families in the local confidence to get out of poverty and find a way to change their lives.