CPEC Authority Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa said on Monday that the Gwadar Port and Gwadar Free Zone would generate economic activities of around $10 billion per annum, besides creating thousands of new jobs.
Talking to media after reviewing the Gwadar Port and other projects under CPEC, the chairman said that, "soon after the completion of the Gwadar Free Zone, a host of manufacturing and trading activities will kick off, cargoes will move, and transshipment activities will increase".
"We will continue to monitor the development work in Gwadar till all the projects become fully operational," he said.
Bajwa said the port's infrastructural work had been completed by the China Port Holding Company at the cost of around $300 million, and all four berths were fully operational.
He said during the last few months, over 67,000 metric tons of cargo had been handled at the port, comprising consignments mostly under the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement, which were later transported to Afghanistan.
A vessel carrying 8,000 cubic feet liquefied petroleum gas is due at the port on Tuesday, while another ship with 24,000 MT of DAP (diammonium phosphate) fertiliser and feed cargo for Afghanistan would arrive here from Australia, he noted.
They had built the port handling capacity, while the customs system is also in place to facilitate the investors and traders, he added.
"Now our full emphasis is to increase the port traffic for which we are pursuing the logistic companies to establish their offices in the city."
Expanding further on the Gwadar Port Free Zone, Bajwa said its first phase spreading over 60 acres of land had already been completed, with 47 enterprises registered.
Six factories have been completed of which three are fully operational now, while six others are under construction, he said.
The second phase of Gwadar Port Free Zone would spread over 2,221 acres of land and Prime Minister Imran Khan would perform its ground breaking, he added.
For the last three years, he said, both the port and free zone had created some 1,200 direct jobs, while 12,000 more people were hired for building the support infrastructure.
He said the China Port Holding Company had already lined up an investor for the second phase, who would need some1,600 acres of land. The investor had pledged a direct investment of $3 billion in the single industry that would create 30,000 jobs.
The CPEC Authority chairman pointed out that the Eastbay Expressway would directly take the cargo from port to M-8 for onward shipment to Karachi and the rest of the country.
Some 94% of work on the expressway has been completed, which would hopefully be inaugurated in September, he said.
Similarly, he observed that the work on Gwadar Airport was going on at a fast pace while the technical and vocational institutes in the city would also be completed in October.
He said the premier had specifically directed to create maximum job opportunities in the area with the capacity building of the local youth by imparting them skill training.
The CPEC Authority chairman said a 150-bed hospital was under construction in the Gwadar City, which was a gift from the Chinese president for the local residents.
He said the master plan of Gwadar City had also been approved, and it was now at the implementation stage.
Rejecting misconceptions about the Gwadar Port, he said it was now a reality, with lot of development work completed, while handling of cargo was underway. He said the development of agriculture sector was a key area of focus under the CPEC.
In that regard, Bajwa said, he held a meeting with the farming community from Mirani and other areas of the province. Six Chinese companies are ready to sign lease agreements for 32,500 acres of land, on which they would develop a unique model of corporate farming, he added.
The CPEC Authority chairman maintained that it would be the first agriculture model farm in Balochistan as similar models were being implemented in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces as well.
About the reservations of fishermen after the development of Eastbay Expressway, he said three bridges were under construction to address their concerns.