Both China and Pakistan’s governments have finalised arrangements to formally kick off trade activity under the umbrella of CPEC, starting specific import of goods through the new route under the $45-billion project.
A senior official said that the government has made all necessary arrangements including the provision of security to the shipment entering Pakistan. The Chinese containers will enter through the Sost border and then be shipped via Gwadar Port, said the official.
“It is a good omen that we are going to launch the flagship programme by receiving containers from China next month, which is a sign of formal start of exports via Gwadar port,” said the official.
The shipment will enter Pakistan in mid-November and would be followed by another one if the Sost border remains open with no heavy snowfall till the mid of December, said the official.
However, the official said the total number of containers in the inaugural shipment was unknown.
Meanwhile, experts believed that the development is a sign of success for both governments towards formally materialising the project despite several internal and external challenges.
China and Pakistan signed the multi-billion dollar CPEC project during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in April 2015, where as many as 52 MoUs were signed containing infrastructure and power projects in addition to development of sea ports, airports and establishment of economic zones.
Ship arrives at Gwadar Port
Meanwhile, in an another development marking the operational success of the Gwadar Port and Free Zone, MV Chang Hang Han Hai, carrying construction materials and other equipment, berthed at Gwadar Port on Friday.
The ship coming from Luojing and Yangzhou ports of China docked at the port filled with various construction materials and other equipment including bulldozer trucks, dumpers, cranes, rollers, generators, electric cables, pipes and other accessories. These will be used for construction and development of the initial area of Gwadar Port Free Zone. The Free Zone is being developed by China overseas Ports Holding Company Limited (COPHC).
The port has been operational since March, 2008; 176 ships loaded with wheat and urea have been handled and 6.330 million tons of cargo has been discharged and transported to the country.
Container business has also started from Gwadar Port; initially limited export of local fish was shipped through COSCO vessels twice a month.
The Chinese port operator, COPHC, has been working on increasing the number of ships and this is the second ship arriving at Gwadar Port this month. Earlier, MV Tian FU brought machinery and heavy construction material for the initial area of Free Zone.