WHAT IS BRI AND CPEC
BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE BRI & CHINA PAKISTAN ECONOMIC CORRIDOR (CPEC)
Gwadar Port is the southern extension of the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which connects Kashgar in China’s northwestern Xinjiang province to the Arabian Sea. A modern, deep-sea port that underwent phase one development in 2007. The ‘Economic Corridor’ with initiate through implementation of several mega projects collectively amounting to $62bn with future projects expected to amplify the valuation considerably. The planned projects include special economic zones (SEZ’s), power plants and modern transportation networks as illustrated in CPEC projects map.
Gwadar gives China quick access to ports in the Middle East and Africa. By bypassing the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea, it cuts the distance from China to Europe from 45 to 10 days. The $46 billion, 3,000-km inter-connection of roads, railways, and pipelines is expected to boost trade and development not only in Pakistan and China but also along the entire Eurasian Silk Road. It will also reduce sea transportation distance by more than 4,200 nautical miles from Beijing to major ports of the Gulf region. CPEC will exponentially reduce the transportation time of both exports and imports of China and Pakistan to the African, Middle Eastern and European markets.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an ambitious programme to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors with the aim of improving regional integration, increasing trade and stimulating economic growth.
The name was coined in 2013 by China’s President Xi Jinping, who drew inspiration from the concept of the Silk Road established during the Han Dynasty 2,000 years ago – an ancient network of trade routes that connected China to the Mediterranean via Eurasia for centuries. The BRI has also been referred to in the past as ‘One Belt One Road’. The BRI initiative will deliver an estimated $5 trillion worth of investment into the infrastructure of 52 countries. Pakistan is one of the countries that will benefit significantly from BRI, with the port city of Gwadar in a prime location for investment.
In 2013, Gwadar Port operations were officially handed over to China. Under the contract with China, the port will be further developed into a full-scale commercial port, with an initial construction investment of $750 million. The port is said to be strategically important to China because it will enable China to more safely and reliably import oil. Currently, sixty percent of China’s oil must be transported by ship from the Persian Gulf to the only commercial port in China, Shanghai, a distance of more than 16,000 km. The journey takes two to three months, during which time the ships are vulnerable to pirates, bad weather, political rivals, and other risks. Using Gwadar port instead will reduce the distance these ships must travel and will also enable oil transfers to be made all year round.
Gwadar port, deep-sea port, is used and operated as a means to serve the supply and import requirements of a well prominent hinterland, The economic prediction of Gwadar port is the trump card for economy and trade routes for Central Asian States and the world. The port features prominently in the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) plan, and is considered to be a crucial link in the BRI.
CPEC holds the immense importance for Pakistan if administered in a positive way. CPEC being the flagship project of BRI and being geographically located in the middle of the two regions makes Gwadar the soul and the essence of Chinese strategic rise. As most of the criss-crossing network of economic connections passes through Pakistan in one way or another by the means of CPEC, so, being the only land route, CPEC strengthens Pakistan’s geo-strategic position and makes Pakistan a major regional player.
Details, revealed by Pakistan’s Planning Secretary, Zafar Hasan, indicated employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands of new workers and a population increase of well over a million through projects administered through CPEC. He confirmed that top of the construction list is a 300 MW coal based power plant which will cater for 1.5 million people. The new plant’s ground-breaking ceremony will take place in November 2019. Work on the new Gwadar International Airport will also commence in November. Preparatory work on that project has already started. China’s National Development and Reform Commission stated that the Gwadar Friendship Hospital, Nurses Training Centre and Teaching Hospital will be built.
It was decided that in order to electrify Gwadar Port, new housing projects will include provision for solar power units.
These announcements were made as part of the Gwadar 2050 Masterplan. Over the next 30 years billions of dollars will be pumped into the area, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
The Masterplan is designed to create a smart, bustling new city which will become the region’s busiest commercial centre. During the construction phase it is thought around 150,000 new jobs will be created. This figure will rise to over 300,000 within a decade. The resultant population explosion will escalate the need for housing and other amenities.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT RESULTING FROM CPEC
GWADAR DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
There’s a huge demand for construction land currently in Gwadar which is only expected to intensify over the next few years. According to the new Masterplan, The city will be split into two distinct development areas along the east and west bays which will include business centres, hotels, tourist attractions, shopping malls, entertainment and restaurants.
Gwadar’s 2019 masterplan has highlighted development phases and planned project completion dates which run through to 2050. As indicated, major progress will be initially seen in Phase I of the development zone. Many of these developments will impact directly on Gwadar’s housing market as new employees from other parts of Pakistan, China and the surrounding area relocate to the developing city.
KEY PROJECTS UNDERWAY
– 2 x 150 Megawatt Coal Power Plants
– Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal
– Fresh Water Treatment Plant
– Expansion of Multi-purpose Terminal including Breakwater and Dredging
– Fresh Water Supply, Wastewater Treatment Plants
GWADAR EASTBAY EXPRESSWAY
Connecting Gwadar Port to Mehran Coastal Highway. Currently 70% complete.
GWADAR EASTBAY EXPRESSWAY II
Connecting Eastbay Expressway I to New Gwadar International Airport. Currently 60% complete.
GWADAR’S NEW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurating the new Gwadar International Airport above and 3D visual of new Gwadar Airport below;
PAK-CHINA FRIENDSHIP HOSPITAL
1st phase completed.
China-Pakistan Faqeer Primary School Project: Completed.