Rejuvenated port to make a splash

Updated 2017-05-04 09:30:40 China Daily

Four years ago, an outdated Gwadar was in decline. But Chinese companies and cash have changed things.

Gwadar Port, in Southwest Pakistan, occupies a great location, according to experts, because its proximity to the Arabian Sea gives China and Central Asian countries access to the Persian Gulf and the markets of the Middle East.

Yet, only four years ago, the port was rundown.

The facilities were in great need of new equipment and repairs, some Chinese scholars visiting there recalled.

Since then, Chinese companies have expended a great deal of energy to bring a new look to the port, with upgraded equipment, new cargo containers and newly built office buildings.

The changes have resulted in a surge in the number of visitors and flourishing property and hotel businesses.

According to Sun Weidong, China's ambassador to Pakistan, Gwadar Port will have a unique place in the Belt and Road Initiative.

"It will improve regional connectivity and economic and trade cooperation, and it will be a hub connecting the region's land and maritime routes. Additionally, the port's free zone will facilitate free trade in the region," he said, calling Gwadar's rejuvenation a long-term project that "should proceed step-by-step".

He said that construction of the East Bay Expressway and a new international airport will be accelerated, and Gwadar will form part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking it with the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Wang Yiwei, professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a tangible megaproject that will "undertake the great mission of prompting the economic takeoff and even the rise of Pakistan".

"For China, the corridor will help to bolster the development of connectivity in the region and achieve common development and prosperity for all countries," he added.

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