BEIJING: Gwadar Port Authority Chairman Dostain Khan Jamaldini has said that at least 30 companies in different businesses such as hospitality, banking, logistics and fish processing have entered the free economic zone in the port city with direct investment of about $474 million.
“The first phase of Gwadar free zone has already been inaugurated,” Jamaldini said in an interview with China Global Television Network on Friday.
Commenting on the progress and achievements over the years, he said the Gwadar Port connectivity, collection and production areas were now almost ready. “We are receiving a ship on a weekly basis from Cosco, a Chinese company which is one of the largest in the world,” he said. “It is calling at Gwadar Port regularly.”
He expressed hope that with the start of industrial production in the Gwadar free zone, the frequency of ships would increase.
“There are many corridors linked through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping five years ago,” Jamaldini added. “However, the most viable, most active and most swiftly implemented component is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).”
He pointed out that CPEC was linking Pakistan not only with western China but also with Central Asian countries. “CPEC became the flagship project of the BRI, aimed at providing new opportunities to the people of both countries,” he said. “It will give a fresh impetus to the Sino-Pakistan friendship.”
In 2015, the Gwadar Port was officially leased to China for 43 years. Since then, the port has been developed under CPEC at a cost of $1.62 billion with the objective of linking northern Pakistan and western China.
In 2016, construction began on the Gwadar Special Economic Zone. The multimillion-dollar Gwadar Port, a key component of CPEC, is now operational.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2018.