Gwadar port to be a node in global shipping: COPHC CEO
Gwadar-related activities are progressing well as more than $ 250 million has been initially spent on port renovation with more investments in the pipeline, Zhang Baozhong, Chief Executive Officer of China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) which operates Gwadar Port and Free Trade Zone said.
In addition, new cranes have been added for unloading cargo along with works on the establishment of a business center, a desalination plant and sewage disposal systems, China Economic Net reported on Saturday.
As for the necessity of desalination plants, they are needed to meet the acute scarcity of water and to meet future needs of the locals. Here, annual rainfall is less than four inches.
The cost of desalination plant being built on priority basis by COPHC is Rs 1.95 billion. It will provide 5,000 gallons of water per day to people.
Power supply is another important factor. In this area, the construction of a local 300-mw power, imported-coal-fired plant started some months ago, with the original cost of the project being $ 542 million.
While saying that this port is becoming a node in international shipping, Zhang adds, “Of course, the progress is not very fast but it takes time. By 2030, we believe that Gwadar will be a new economic hub of Pakistan and the highest GDP contributor to Pakistan’s economy.”
At Gwadar, a free trade zone was also established in 2015. Nine companies including a Chinese steelmaker and a Pakistani producer of edible oil signed up at that time to be followed by 30 more firms that came up for Free Zone’s Phase-1, closer to the site of the new airport.
Zhang, however, said that twice that number of companies applied, including some from Europe.
Economists and analysts in Pakistan are of the considered opinion that once the global and regional economy takes off in new form, these foreign companies will enhance their investments in Gwadar projects besides putting them on a fast track.
Last year, Prime Minister, Imran Khan visited Gwadar and broke ground on a new international airport site. A new contract was also announced that schools and a hospital will be built in addition to other structures.
The name of the hospital being built by China on 68 acres of land is Pak-China Friendship Hospital and it would cost $ 100 million.
China is also building Pak-China Technical and Vocational Training Institute in Gwadar at the cost of $ 10 million. It will create job opportunities for the locals.