Together, we will explore a sustainable development path for Gwadar Port
- Belt and Road Initiative pushes Gwadar towards regional logistics hub
- Free trade zones, highways, airports and power projects have been put into operation in Gwadar Port
Freighter whistles sounded, and fixed routes to China, the Middle East and Africa opened; trucks flowed along the East Bay Expressway to all parts of Pakistan; the construction of free zones was in full swing, and roads, airports, power and industrial projects were successively completed... Here is the flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor - Gwadar Port.
In 2015, China and Pakistan established a "1+4" cooperation layout centered on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and focusing on Gwadar Port, energy, transportation infrastructure, and industrial cooperation. Today, the Gwadar Port and the Free Zone are running smoothly, the Gwadar Exhibition Center and Business Center have risen from the ground, the schools and hospitals built by China have brought convenience to the local people, and the breeding, greenhouse and drip irrigation technologies brought by Chinese experts have helped Local organic farming is booming. Driven by the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, Gwadar is developing steadily towards a regional logistics hub and industrial base, and local people have reaped tangible benefits.
The changes in Gwadar Port are amazing
On June 3, 2022, the opening ceremony of China-aided East Bay Expressway in Gwadar was held, and the ground-breaking ceremony of China-aided projects such as the Gwadar desalination plant in Pakistan was also held on the spot. At the ceremony, Pakistani Prime Minister Shabazz Sharif thanked China for its assistance and the hard work of Chinese builders. The East Bay Expressway connects the Gwadar Port area with the Pakistan National Highway, opening up the transportation channel between Gwadar Port and Karachi. The road also connects to the new Gwadar International Airport under construction, boosting the development of Gwadar Port into a regional transportation hub.
Taking advantage of its location and policy advantages, Gwadar Port and the Free Zone have developed together, and entrepot trade and processing trade have kept pace. At present, Gwadar Port has built a multi-purpose terminal with three 20,000-ton berths, and the rear yard area reaches 140,000 square meters. From refurbishing port components, adding new loading and unloading equipment, to upgrading power and water supply systems, to project expansion... At present, the port has full operational capacity and can handle various businesses such as bulk cargo, containers, ro-ro cargo, and liquefied petroleum gas.
Zhang Baozhong, chairman of China Overseas Port Holdings Co., Ltd., told reporters that at present, the first phase of the Gwadar Free Zone has been completed, and 46 enterprises have settled in, covering overseas warehouses, chemical fertilizers, fishery processing, metal material manufacturing, agricultural development, tourism, In insurance, banking and other fields, the investment has exceeded 3 billion yuan, providing nearly 5,000 employment opportunities for local residents. The second phase of the free zone, which was launched in July last year, is 36 times the size of the first phase.
In the free zone, the Gwadar International Commodities Fair is held regularly, the business center has been successfully completed, and many industrial projects in the free zone, such as a fertilizer factory, an animal vaccine factory, and a lubricant oil factory, are being advanced. A series of projects have attracted foreign investment for Gwadar Port and brought new opportunities for local industrial development.
With the completion of one project after another, the appearance of Gwadar Port is changing with each passing day. "In just a few years, we are amazed by the changes in Gwadar Port!" said Nasir, project director of the Gwadar Free Zone Logistics Base. While promoting local infrastructure construction, Chinese enterprises have also provided a large number of jobs, provided vocational skills training to Pakistani employees, and increased the proportion of localized labor.
Small fishing village has changed a lot
In 2015, in order to improve the educational conditions in the Gwadar area, the China Peace and Development Foundation decided to donate money to build a primary school in the Faqer community. The school was originally designed to accommodate 150 students. After its completion, the good environment and teaching conditions attracted more than 400 students from the surrounding areas to sign up. In June 2020, Faqul Primary School completed a new round of expansion, which can accommodate more than 1,000 students.
Red tiles and white walls, bright and clean windows. In the Gwadar region, which is dominated by adobe houses, the Faqul School has become a landmark building. Due to the addition of a secondary school, Faqour Primary School was renamed Faqour School and equipped with modern teaching facilities such as multi-functional classrooms for new teaching needs.
"I want to be a doctor when I grow up," Habiba Kedir, a student at Faqul School, told reporters shyly, touching his head. School teacher Muhammad Yunus told reporters that the rapid development of Gwadar has enabled locals to have clean drinking water, stable power supply and good education. "Today's Gwadar is no longer the closed small fishing village of the past. "
In May 2017, the China-Pakistan Fraternity Medical Emergency Center was built in Gwadar Port to provide medical services to the locals, which has been widely praised by the public. Abdul Kader, a local doctor, worked with 4 batches of Chinese medical team members working in the center. He told reporters that the arrival of the Chinese medical team has greatly improved Gwadar's shortage of doctors and medicines.
Once, a Pakistani father came to the emergency center with a child with severe photosensitivity dermatitis. Members of the Chinese medical team found that this was a disease caused by the lack of fresh vegetables in the local people's diet. If the treatment is not timely, permanent scars will be left on the skin. Under the careful medication and care of the team members, the child recovered within a few days.
Since then, Kader has a new job: walking into schools and communities in the Gwadar region with a Chinese medical team, promoting health and hygiene knowledge, and distributing vitamin tablets that are difficult to obtain locally. "The members of the Chinese medical team have won the gratitude and respect of the Gwadar people with their superb medical skills and serious and responsible work attitude," Kader said. In addition, in order to solve the practical difficulties of the people in the Gwadar area, the Chinese government donated two batches of 4,000 sets of household solar panel equipment to the people in Gwadar, meeting the basic electricity needs of the local people. After the completion of the China-aided Gwadar desalination plant project in Pakistan, it will also greatly alleviate the water shortage problem that has plagued the local people for a long time.
Gwadar News reporter Yasser Habib said that there is no shortage of opportunities in Gwadar, but people who are good at spotting opportunities. "In the past 10 years, Chinese enterprises have been deeply involved in the construction and operation of ports and free zones, and have explored a sustainable development path for Gwadar Port with tenacity and wisdom."
Local resident Ala Bukesh is an agricultural technician at Gwadar Green Eco-Tech Co., Ltd. In October 2021, the Belt and Road Tropical Arid Economic Forest Engineering and Technology Research Center was established in the Gwadar Free Zone. Under the guidance of the Chinese expert team, Booksh earnestly implemented the specific plan for the planting of commercial crops. Recently, green vegetables, eggplants, tomatoes, etc. have arrived at the harvest time. "I have eaten the vegetables grown by myself, not to mention how happy." Bukesh said excitedly.
In the experimental field guided by Chinese experts, Juncao is already as tall as one person. Local bananas, jujubes, ginger, etc. have been greatly improved by the breeding and grafting techniques taught by Chinese experts. At present, the first batch of 10 local agricultural technicians including Bukesh are receiving modern agricultural technology training, and this project will be extended to more local residents in the future. "I never thought that in Gwadar, we could see such green patches, which would greatly change our living environment," said Bukesh.
Abdul Rahim, deputy director of the Environment Department of the Gwadar Development Agency, said that at present, more than 95% of the income of local residents depends on traditional fisheries, and the dependence on a single industry limits local development to a certain extent. The Gwadar region is hot and dry, and the development of planting industry requires high-level agricultural technology and talents. The arrival of Chinese experts has solved this problem. The Gwadar Port Authority is working with the Chinese side to promote free agricultural technical training and provide cash crop seedlings to local residents. Under the guidance of Chinese technicians, Gwadar has added more than 100,000 square meters of green space.
The development of modern agriculture can not only help local residents increase their income, but also increase the vegetation coverage in the Gwadar region and improve the local environment. "In the future, the Gwadar region will also try to introduce agricultural products such as almonds, watermelons and wild pears to further improve the level of regional agricultural development. Gwadar will become a beautiful oasis near the Arabian Sea." Rahim said looking forward.Editor/XuNing