Gwadar heads to a promising 2022

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City makes huge progress in port operation, aims to become logistics hub

GWADAR:  “I will grow up to become a doctor. I want to travel around the world and show them what we are capable of,” declared Habiba Qadir, a student of China-Pakistan Gwadar Faqeer Middle School, in an interview with the China Economic Net.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) reached an important milestone on November 13, 2016 with the first shipment of trade cargo from Gwadar Port to international destinations.

Five years on, Gwadar Port has entered 2022 with hope, determination and achieveme nt.

“For those who have visited it before, they do realise that there has been a lot of development here,” Gwadar Port Authority Chairman Naseer Khan Kashani pointed out while reviewing the five-year journey of Gwadar Port.

Reaching to a bigger world

Gwadar has made huge progress when it comes to port operation and port economy.

“According to our plan, Gwadar will become the logistics hub in this region within five years,” China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) Chairman Zhang Baozhong said confidently. There had been no single commercial shipping line connecting Gwadar Port for the past 10 years, and the port merely relied on government-diverted cargo with huge subsidised road transport, noted Baozhong.

But things have changed since COPHC took over the port and infrastructure improved, especially when Afghan transit cargo started going through Gwadar Port on January 14, 2020.

In spite of the negative Covid-19 pandemic impact on business development, more than 100,000 tonnes of Afghan cargo have been handled at the port. “LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) ships and bulk cargo vessels can be seen coming frequently,” he underlined.

All these activities not only generated a lot of business opportunities for Pakistani stevedoring companies, transporters, customer clearance and many others, but also helped stabilise supply to Afghanistan and other landlocked countries in Central Asia. Talking about Gwadar Free Zone, the first modern industrial park in Pakistan, Gwadar Free Zone Manager Dadaullah Yousuf said that until now 46 enterprises have been registered for investment in the free zone, mainly covering logistics, warehousing, halal food processing, agriculture, textile, etc.

Right now, Gwadar Free Zone phase-1 has been successfully completed, while work on the much larger phase-2, covering an area of 2,221 acres, has been started.

“More and more investors are showing keen interest in investing here,” Baozhong said.

Development benefits local community

The development of the economy relies a lot on people, and it also empowers people to lead a better life. Education, first of all, is the foundation.

China-Pakistan Gwadar Faqeer Middle School, donated by China Foundation for Peace and Development, has been in operation for five years with the sponsorship of COPHC.

Now, this school is one of the best in Gwadar. More than 700 boys and girls are attending the school to receive education.

Naseem Ahmad, descendant of land donator and teacher at China-Pakistan Gwadar Faqeer Middle School, told the China Economic Net that after the school had been made, the locals got more development programmes, and real estate and businesses have increased.

“We can say that this school has contributed as an integral part of our area.”

Port boosting local employment

“Almost 80% of our workers are locals,” Muhammad Saleem Butt, Head of Gwadar Port Operations GITL, told the China Economic Net.

“Actually almost 90% of our local staff was only capable of, maybe, the watchman job when they first came here,” noted Zing, Office Manager of China Business Centre in Gwadar, adding that there were not too many schools nor technical agencies in the city. As a big achievement, the construction of China Aid Technical and Vocational Institute of Gwadar Port was completed on October 1, 2021.

(Source: THE CHINA ECONOMIC NET)

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