First Chinese shipment rolls into Sost dry port in Gilgit-Baltistan

Published: November 1, 2016
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First CPEC shipment reaches Sost dry port in G-B. PHOTO: SHABBIR MIR/EXPRESS

First CPEC shipment reaches Sost dry port in G-B. PHOTO: SHABBIR MIR/EXPRESS

GILGIT: Hundreds of Chinese trucks loaded with goods rolled into the Sost dry port in Gilgit-Baltistan on Monday as a multibillion-dollar project between Pakistan and China formally became operational.

The shipment arrived more than two weeks after the first Chinese ship docked at Gwadar port that is the centre of the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. The corridor is about 3,000-kilometre long consisting of highways, railways and pipelines that will connect China’s Xinjiang province to the rest of the world through Gwadar port.

First CPEC-specific shipment to arrive in mid-November

The first consignment, loaded on 150 to 300 trucks, was received by G-B Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman and the commander of the Force Command Northern Areas Maj Gen Saqib Mehmood, who had especially flown in to be at the historic occasion.

“This is going to be the fate changer for our country,” said Rehman after the ceremony at the Sost dry port, which has recently been handed over to the National Logistics Cell (NLC) for a period of 20 years.

“We will thwart conspiracies being hatched against CPEC,” he said in a veiled reference to India which has publicly opposed the multibillion-dollar project dubbed ‘game-changer’ and ‘fate changer’ not just for Pakistan but for the entire region.

A senior government official said the shipping containers carrying the Chinese goods would be escorted to Gwadar in small convoys. “The first convoy left Gilgit today [Monday] for its destination,” the official told The Express Tribune wishing not to be named.

“Personnel of army, police and special CPEC force are providing foolproof security to the convoy,” added the official, who is privy to the development.

“Some of the Chinese shipping containers were unloaded at Sost dry port where the goods were reloaded on to Pakistani containers for onward journey to Gawadar.”

As the convoy drove through Danyor town in Gilgit via Karakoram Highway, residents lining both sides of the road waved to the truckers. The trucks were festooned with banners having pictures of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang.

“Wish you best of luck,” said a resident as he prayed for the success of the project. “Long live Pak-China friendship,” said another resident.

Earlier this year, Beijing donated to the G-B government 25 vehicles equipped with modern security gears for the security of convoys coming from China. The G-B government has also installed 285 high-resolution closed-circuit cameras with night vision capability to keep an eye on miscreants.

The government in G-B, which is at the heart of CPEC, fears Indian spy agency RAW could exploit the region’s constitutional status against the project. New Delhi claims G-B is a disputed territory because it is part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Gwadar Port: Shipping minister calls for input from local industrialists

While the 420-kilometre-long stretch of CPEC runs through G-B, politicians say the region is unlikely to reap its economic benefits – at least in the short run.

“We welcome this project as it will change the country’s outlook,” said JUI-F’s senior leader Attaullah Shahab. “But the worrying thing is there is nothing for G-B in the project.”

PPP Vice President Jamil Ahmed voiced similar reservations, asking the government to ensure due share for G-B. “Our chief minister could have taken maximum out of the project because his party, the PML-N, is the ruling party at the centre.”

The chief minister, however, said his government was planning to introduce an ‘environment tax’ on transporters doing business under CPEC. “We will legislate to levy the environment tax,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2016.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • Nauman Ghauri
    Nov 1, 2016 - 8:25AM

    Bravo! And it begins!Recommend

  • Haris
    Nov 1, 2016 - 9:39AM

    Thank you China. Recommend

  • Mehreen Chandan
    Nov 1, 2016 - 9:41AM

    To all Indian who are going to comment negatively and pray for the failure of this project. Why don’t you for once not comment and just wait and watch. We hope for good things to come out of this for the whole region and especially for Pakistan. Instead of spewing hate and misinformation why don’t you wish us wellRecommend

  • Athiest
    Nov 1, 2016 - 10:55AM

    And the colonization begins, good luck Pakistan because you need it. Recommend

  • abreez
    Nov 1, 2016 - 11:09AM

    Pakistan will prove Chinese godown for Mid East, Africa and Europe and it’ll be a win win situation for China and Pakistan.Recommend

  • cybersolder
    Nov 1, 2016 - 12:27PM

    no custom duty , no surcharge , trucks, drivers and labours are Chinese, no pakistan goods are going to china . How Pakistan gonna earn huge money promised by politicians ?? Recommend

  • LOL
    Nov 1, 2016 - 12:36PM

    @Athiest: So the usual indian comments change from “CPEC will never materialize” to “Pakistan will be a Chinese colony”.. HAHAHA.. i wish i could send you burnol.Recommend

  • umer hayat
    Nov 1, 2016 - 12:43PM

    As a resident of gilgit baltistan i cannot see any benefit and there is nothing for gilgit baltistan in cpec except one thing ‘dust and smoke of trucks ‘ ..we want our due share otherwise we think it is only punjab china economic corridor..Recommend

  • onlooker
    Nov 1, 2016 - 2:20PM

    @LOL: Indians proved right and now Pakistanis themselves saying CPEC is a failure! Apart from the loss of anticipated monetary losses, added liability of securing Chinese investment is a big headache for Pakistan. Chinese are too clever one must agree, their investments are making profit & interests at same time! Recommend

  • سے Shaam (Hanafi)
    Nov 1, 2016 - 2:27PM

    Trucks laden with more containers for Imran Dharna and Nawaz blockades… Lough Out Loud Man! Cheers!Recommend

  • cautious
    Nov 1, 2016 - 2:59PM

    Nice pics — normally trucks would be carrying std containers used for International
    shipping – looks like photo op guys weren’t aware of that. Recommend

  • pak47
    Nov 1, 2016 - 3:15PM

    This is what IK is really fighting against. He fears if Pakistan is put on development path he may loose elections in 2018. Recommend

  • Mouli
    Nov 1, 2016 - 3:45PM

    At the outset All the best for this initiative. One doubt – How are the trucks designed ? Pakistan’s vehicles, I think are designed for right hand/keep left driving.. Chinese follow left hand/keep right driving. Are these incompatibility taken care and safety ensured ? – I am an Indian, just curious to know. Recommend

  • Ravi
    Nov 1, 2016 - 7:32PM

    @Mehreen Chandan: we wish CPEC well, as long as it is not routed through GB, which is Indian territory illegally occupied by Pakistan!Recommend

  • sam ganguly
    Nov 1, 2016 - 10:24PM

    CPEC is what pakistani people love to say a dream project, but in reality it will probably destroy the puny manufacturing capability the country has, easy to guess although whose pockets are going to get deeper.Recommend

  • Truth
    Nov 2, 2016 - 12:05AM

    Bravo!!! Recommend

  • khurrum
    Nov 2, 2016 - 1:59AM

    BRAVO !!!Recommend

  • PakSal
    Nov 2, 2016 - 7:11AM

    @sam ganguly:
    Dude, you seem concerned for Pakistan and Pakistanis … how come? LOLRecommend

  • PakSal
    Nov 2, 2016 - 7:14AM

    @Ravi:
    Its Pakistan’s territory, dude, take it easy.But if it had been an Indian territory for real, what could you have done about it? Huh?Recommend

  • PakSal
    Nov 2, 2016 - 7:15AM

    @Mouli:
    Its ok to be curious … but more importantly it’d be better to read the article in its entirety.Recommend

  • Mouli
    Nov 2, 2016 - 9:13AM

    @PakSal: On a longer run, will this work ?Recommend

  • Truthteller
    Nov 2, 2016 - 9:19AM

    Having Indians commenting on here, do make a point that this is something big for them to handle as Pakistan is on receiving end. You will see Indians in every article of CPEC. They are here for reason and replying for reason and every those Indian who are saying good luck Pakistan. How come Indians became so caring about Pakistan and it’s existence?.

    CPEC is game changer or not time will tell but It’s really became worse nightmare for every Indian as days goes by and new news coming from Gawadar.Recommend

  • Lakhkar Khan
    Nov 2, 2016 - 7:58PM

    @Ravi:

    You want Gilgit Baltistan? Come get it. Recommend

  • Harsh Singh
    Nov 3, 2016 - 8:37AM

    CPEC will become another East India Company for PakRecommend

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