Farhan Hassan*
CPEC -Gwadar Port

CPEC or China–Pakistan Economic Corridor is a large economic project that includes a number of infrastructure projects in Pakistan.The most important aim is to establish a land road linking the city of Kashgar in China (East Turkestan) to the Pakistani port of Gwadar. Estimation of the total cost of the project is $ 46 billion, Pakistan is depending on it to improve its economy, especially in Baluchistan Area. CPEC was first proposed in May 2013 by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Pakistan.


Gwadar port

In 2015, China rented the port of Gwadar for 43 years, until 2059.this port is located in Baluchistan Province on the Arabian Sea. The port is located 533 km from Karachi, about 120 km from Iran and 380 km from the Sultanate of Oman. In the region that contains about two thirds of the world's oil reserves.

The port will include a floating LNG facility which amounts to $ 2.5 billion as a part of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. On June 2016 the Construction began on the Gwadar, which is being built on 2,992 acres, close to the port of Gwadar.


Two Phases of the project:

The Gwadar Port was developed in two phases,

Phase I:

Covered the construction of three multi-purpose berths and related basic port and handling equipment, and was open on March 20, 2007

Phase II:

The construction as part of the improvements planned under the CPEC and other ancillary projects which is expected to cost $ 1.02 billion.


The Operating

In 2015 it was announced that Gwadar Port is under the CPEC China – Pakistan Economic Corridor project at a cost of $ 1.62 billion,

On November 14, 2016, The Gwadar Port began operating and opened by Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.


Future plans

• Drifting the channel to a depth of 20 meters

•  Built 100 +berths by 2045

• Capacity of 400 million tons of cargo annually 


Pakistani side

Muhammad Talha the head of the Board of Economic Corridor Project from the Pakistani side said:

An estimated $ 64 billion in investment is considered as one of a major economic strategy for Pakistan and building 29 industrial cities along the path of the corridor, leading to economic big development and the provision of many job opportunities

The Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced during one of his visits to China  that activating CPEC as the economic corridor project, with the aim of driving growth and development  in his country.

Pakistan is expected to achieve profits from the international road worth 5 billion dollars.

As well the international road will contribute to the growth of many Pakistani cities, such as the capital, Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Hyderabad, and Karachi.


The Chinese side

According to the China Today newspaper that in 2013, China Ports Holding Company Limited acquired the right to manage and develop Gawad Port that in order to meet the "Belt and Road" initiative and promote Chinese-Pakistani economic cooperation,

In March 19, 2019, Mr.  Song Tao, head of the International Communication Department of the CPC Central Committee, after the first meeting of the joint consultation mechanism of political parties was held in the framework of the CPEC indicated that the meeting is within the framework of The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is an innovation for deepening political party relations between China and Pakistan, and a new platform for promoting Sino-Pakistani cooperation under the "Belt and Road" project.

He added: "Since the launch of CPEC, there are approximately 22 projects under construction, some of which have been created, with a total investment of $ 19 billion and more than seventy thousand jobs have been created.

The Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Zhuanyu, said:" that the two countries will go ahead steadily in implementing the CPEC project while ensuring smooth operation of completed projects and progress of ongoing projects."

As expected, that China will be able to halve the length of the road from the Strait of Malaga of the European sea route, and will achieve annual profits of at least $ 10 billion


Kingdom and CEPC

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan signed an agreement to build an oil refinery at a cost of $ 10 billion, near the city of Gwadar.

Pakistani Oil Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said about this agreement, which was signed during the recent visit of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman to Pakistan, that it will make Saudi Arabia an important partner for the Pakistani-Chinese economic corridor,

While former Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih also indicated that this project and partnership With Pakistan in the economic corridor, it would make Pakistan's economic development stable.

Commenting on the signing of the agreement from the Chinese side, Foreign Ministry spokesman Jin Shuang expressed China's readiness to establish a mechanism for interaction on the basis of a fruitful dialogue with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia,

And also add " that the China-Pakistan economic corridor is a complex project and does not exclude the possibility of involving a third party, although the balance of interests in such projects with other countries is done on an equal basis of mutual benefit".


The environmental issue

A report by (SGOS) expressed concerns about the future environment of the region in light of the expansion of Gwadar Port as mentioned, that the expansion of the port will lead to further damage to the marine environment such as oil spills and other human industrial wastes that flow into the sea, in addition to that the Pakistan's laws on marine pollution have weak penalties.


International reservations

India has a number of reservations about the corridor project, among which is that the new route will cross the part of Kashmir under Pakistani control. Also, some analysts said that the project will negatively affect the Gulf ports, especially the UAE ports on its future plan and as well we cannot neglect the American-Chinese trade war and its consequences on this major project.


Conclusion

The Silk Road pushed  by the Chinese dragon under of international reservations and sanctions and according to reports and analyzes, the success of this project will be lead to major economic and political changes and that deserve us to study deeply and research to set the framework for our strategies in counter of expected the changes and possibilities that will may arise, especially that we are in an interconnected international economy and Intertwined and  complicated.




Farhan
Hassan

e-mail: fhshasn@gmail.com





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