Pakistan set to sign 40-year lease for Gwadar port with Chinese company: officials

By AFP
Published: September 9, 2015
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Abdul Razzaq Durrani, the director general of GPA, confirmed the deal. PHOTO: REUTERS

Abdul Razzaq Durrani, the director general of GPA, confirmed the deal. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: Pakistan is set to sign a 40-year-lease with a Chinese company to develop a massive special economic zone in the deep sea port of Gwadar, officials said Wednesday.

The scheme is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an ambitious $46 billion investment plan linking western China to the Arabian Sea with infrastructure, energy and transport projects.

The contract assigning the 923 hectare (2300 acre) swathe of tax-exempt land to China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) is likely to be signed this month or October, Dostain Khan Jamaldini, chief of the Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) told AFP.

As part of the wider plans, “work on the Gwadar International Airport would start in the next couple of months and we are quite hopeful of completion of the national highway connecting Gwadar with the north within the next month”, he added.

Pakistan is also raising a special security force of between 10,000 and 25,000 men to protect the port, which lies in the restive southwestern province of Balochistan which since 2004 has been roiled by a separatist insurgency.

Abdul Razzaq Durrani, the director general of GPA, confirmed the deal.

Gwadar port was built in 2007 with technical help from Beijing as well as Chinese financial assistance of some $248 million.

But acquiring the land from private owners to build the economic zone took several years and cost the Baloch government around $62 million, Durrani said.

“I think the biggest benefit for Pakistan is economic interconnection,” says Masood Khan, a former Pakistan ambassador to China.

The Gwadar deal follows similar deals in other parts of the world, including Africa, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, says geo-political analyst Simbal Khan.

“Pakistan is looking at the CPEC project as a game changer, kick starting an era of infrastructure growth and investment. The land deal is just part of the Gwadar port infrastructure that needs to develop to realise the expectations of Pakistan and China from this mega project,” she said.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Dina
    Sep 10, 2015 - 2:10AM

    Punjab doesnt have the ability to run Pakistan. This is for sure. Either we must sell it to friends or loose it to our enemies.Recommend

  • PakPower
    Sep 10, 2015 - 3:35AM

    A great strategic race has begun between the ports of Gwadar and Chabahar. If a big chunk of CPEC materializes soon then Chabahar is going to lose much of its efficacy.Recommend

  • Babloo
    Sep 10, 2015 - 4:03AM

    Please sign a 500 year lease for Pakistan to China.Recommend

  • Jalal
    Sep 10, 2015 - 4:56AM

    Sell everything. We don’t need anything.

    How much sense is required to operate cranes which effectively what running a port is?Recommend

  • Balma
    Sep 10, 2015 - 6:50AM

    Emperor Jahangir had granted a license to Thomas Roe for trading, the license was for a limited time. Eventually, Shah Alam assigned British East India Company to collect taxes from Bengal on his behalf. Bahadur Shah Zafar’s pension money was not some khairat-zakat, it was his share- reduced under different pretexts by the East India company – was his share of the taxes collected by EIC. It is history being repeated by idiots running Pakistan. History won’t be repeated if someone in the government had read it….but who cares. Amidst the celebration for 65, nobody cared to ask if anyone under 40 in Pakistan knows whether East Pakistan existed, and if it did then who lost it?
    Sure, give Gwadar to China…and why not whole of Pakistan on Thaeka to someone else for tax collection, like Shah Alam did with Bengal.Recommend

  • Indialover
    Sep 10, 2015 - 7:10AM

    I wish the Chinese all success in their newly purchased land. This is what it is. Pakistani Govt. selling away land to China. Recommend

  • abreez
    Sep 10, 2015 - 8:32AM

    Chinese outbound tourists may well exceed 600 million in the next five years
    en.people.cn
    September 09, 2015
    The accumulative number of outbound Chinese tourists will exceed 600 million in the next five years, according to a report on Monday.

    Market Research Report on Chinese Outbound Travel Consumption (2014-2015) was issued by World Tourism Cities Federation (WYCF) on Monday in Beijing. The report analyzes the developing situation of outbound travel in China and Chinese tourists’ awareness of outbound travel.

    In 2014, the number of Chinese outbound tourists comprised 9.58 percent of international tourists. As the world’s biggest outbound tourism market, Chinese tourists spend $165 billion in 2014. Such consumption comprised 11 percent of international tourism revenues. The accumulative number of Chinese outbound tourists will exceed 600 million in the next five years.

    Huge potential exists in China’s second-tier and third-tier cities.

    More and more Chinese people choose long-distance outbound travel. The proportion of tourists who travel abroad several times every year is as high as 50.74 percent.

    The report shows that Chinese tourists become more and more interested in outbound travel. 41.59 percent of them will spend more than 20 percent of their total living expenses for travelling.

    In addition, Internet plus has more and more influence on outbound travel. More than 67 percent of tourists book hotels and air tickets, query travel information and buy entrance tickets via the Internet.Recommend

  • PakPower
    Sep 10, 2015 - 8:59AM

    @Indialover:
    Obviously, you have no idea how ports are run throughout the world. For your information, take a look at Naha Port in Japan, or Portland Port in the US, among many others.Recommend

  • Tight Patloon
    Sep 10, 2015 - 8:59AM

    This port would be used to carry cheap chinese goods to rest of the world. Pakistanis will get a fraction of the income generated and Pakistanis will get low skill jobs like drivers, crane operators etc.Recommend

  • cheebz
    Sep 10, 2015 - 9:50AM

    as others have said.. sell everything to the chinese on Tax-exempt because our rulers are idiots… Recommend

  • Ordinary citizen
    Sep 10, 2015 - 10:23AM

    It’s good to call in Chinese in Gawdar, but should not be given any land on lease. They could be given a contract to operate the port for not more than 25 yearsRecommend

  • Khurram S
    Sep 10, 2015 - 10:39AM

    To ensure Gwadar’s success it should be operated exclusively on HongKong Model.Recommend

  • Pakistani Sindhi
    Sep 10, 2015 - 2:00PM

    @Indialover:
    Wear your eye glasses and read the article complete before rushing in to typing a silly comment. It is ‘lease’ not ‘sell’. Recommend

  • Rollin & Trollin
    Sep 10, 2015 - 3:44PM

    @Balma: Not a bad idea; if that results in better efficiency, less corruption, greater law and order and all the things we can’t get from entrusting their oversight from our homies !Recommend

  • Imran AB
    Sep 10, 2015 - 4:48PM

    It seems like most of the readers who have contributed their comments are not from the Sea Ports Operation linked businesses. All over the world ports are managed, operated and run by private companies or foreign companies where the laws permit. Some Dubai companies are running and operating ports in USA on long term basis. This is a business norm. All the Middle eastern ports are operated by foreign companies. Most of South Asian and European ports are run by multinational, foreign firms specializing in port operations.

    So please take a chill pill and thank God that Pakistan has Gawader which Pakistan and Pakistanis will benefit from. No it is not a simple matter of operating cranes and some contributors have said. It is a lot of complicated affair requiring experience and specialization.Recommend

  • karachiite
    Sep 11, 2015 - 5:17PM

    Personally, anything to keep our stratei assets away from Bhuttos, Sharifs, Mengals and Bugtis. And kindly “dina” writing a Muslim name does not transform you from Indian to Pakistani, only Indian think that Pakistan is being run by Punjabis, we are all one nation and anyone who says otherwise is probably a paid journalist, many of which are abound Tribune, too, it is an open blog after all.Recommend

  • Naresh
    Sep 12, 2015 - 1:00AM

    @Indialover: I wish the Chinese all success in their newly purchased land. This is what it is. Pakistani Govt. selling away land to China
    .
    The Port of Gwadar Land etc. is owned by the Pakistani Government. Only the Port Precinct is LEASED TO THE CHINESE “PORT OPERATING” in this case China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) for a Period of 40 Years. In India Mundra, JNPT, Kochi, Chennai and Ennore Container Berths-Docks are given to Non-Indian Operators. Adani ownerdMundra will have Four Container Terminal – 1. DPW 2. Adanis themselves, 3. Adanis JV with MSC
    4. Adanis JV with CMA CGM Group.
    .
    So be assured Gwadar “Port Operations” will be returned to the Pakistani Government in 2055.
    CgeersRecommend

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