BEIJING: The China Overseas Ports Holding Ltd has invested nearly $250 million and built a 25-acre modern industrial park in Gwadar port free zone. The free zone is equipped with roads, water pipes, electricity, communications, security fence and waste disposal facilities.
More than 30 Chinese and Pakistani enterprises have moved in the free zone, with three billion yuan of direct investment. These include hotel, bank, insurance, financial leasing, logistics, overseas warehousing, grain and oil processing, aquatic product processing, and home appliances assembly. Their yearly output value will exceed five billion yuan once they all come into operation.
Both China and Pakistan agreed to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Pakistan in May 2013 to promote energy and transportation infrastructure development, among other projects.
During President Xi Jinping’s visit in April 2015, a closer bilateral cooperation was again highlighted. A key element of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and an essential component of the Gwadar Port development project, the free zone aims to improve trade logistics, facilitate processing trade, and promote warehousing and financial services.
According to the project plan, the free zone will occupy an area of 923 hectares and be developed in four phases. The first phase opened for operation in January 2018. The free zone will be modeled after the Shekou Industrial Zone in Shenzhen, China, comprising a port, an industrial park, and residential and business areas. Once completed, the free zone will spur economic growth in Balochistan and the rest of Pakistan.