Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa, Chairman of the CPEC Authority, claimed on 31st May 2021, that the Gwadar Port and Gwadar Free Zone would produce $10 billion in annual economic activity, in addition to thousands of new jobs.
Unlike any other initiative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, or others, CPEC places a heavy emphasis on social development, population welfare, and poverty alleviation throughout its command area.
“Soon after the completion of the Gwadar Free Zone, a host of manufacturing and trading activities will kick off, cargoes will move, and transshipment activities will increase” The chairman told the media after reviewing the Gwadar Port and other CPEC projects.
“We will continue to monitor the development work in Gwadar till all the projects become fully operational,” he stated.
The China Port Holding Company finished the port’s infrastructure work at a cost of roughly $300 million, according to Bajwa, and all four berths were completely operational.
Over 67,000 metric tonnes of cargo were processed at the port in the last few months, he said. They were largely consignments under the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement that were afterward transferred to Afghanistan.
On June 1st, 2021, a ship carrying 8,000 cubic feet of liquefied petroleum gas arrived at the port, while another ship carrying 24,000 MT of DAP fertilizer and feed cargo for Afghanistan arrived from Australia, he said. He stated that they had increased port handling capacity and that a customs system had been put in place to help investors and traders.
“Now our full emphasis is to increase the port traffic for which we are pursuing the logistic companies to establish their offices in the city.” Bajwa went on to explain that the first phase of the Gwadar Port Free Zone, which covered 60 acres of land, had already been completed and that 47 enterprises had been registered.
Six plants have been constructed, three of which are now fully operating, and six more are being built, he said. Prime Minister Imran Khan will lay the foundation stone for the second phase of the Gwadar Port Free Zone, which would cover 2,221 acres.
He claimed that over the last three years, the port and free zone had created 1,200 direct jobs, with another 12,000 people hired to help build the support infrastructure. He said that the China Port Holding Company had already lined up a second-phase investor, who would require 1,600 acres of land. The investor had promised a $3 billion direct investment in a single business that would generate 30,000 jobs.
The Eastbay Expressway, according to the chairman of the CPEC Authority, will transport cargo directly from the port to M-8, where it will be shipped to Karachi and the rest of the country. He claimed that 94 percent of the work on the expressway had been done and that it will be launched in September.
Similarly, he noted that development on the Gwadar Airport was progressing quickly and that the city’s technical and vocational colleges will be finished in October. He said the premier has requested that as many job possibilities as possible be created in the area, with the local youth’s capability being built through skill training.
According to the chairman of the CPEC Authority, a 150-bed hospital is being built in Gwadar City as a gift from the Chinese president for local inhabitants. He added that Gwadar City’s master plan had also been approved and was now in the execution stage.
He debunked myths about the Gwadar Port, saying it was now a reality, with a lot of development work accomplished and cargo processing beginning. He stated that one of the CPEC’s main goals was to develop the agriculture industry.
According to Bajwa, he conducted a meeting with the farming community in Mirani and other parts of the province in this respect. He stated that six Chinese companies are ready to sign leasing agreements for 32,500 acres of land on which they plan to create a novel corporate agricultural model.
Upgrades to agricultural infrastructures, such as water-saving measures, modern agricultural zones, boosting the productivity of medium/low-yield land, and strengthening drip irrigation technology, are all priorities. Crop farming, animal breeding, forestry, food production, aquatic and fisheries, and other areas of cooperation will be on the table.
According to the head of the CPEC Authority, it will be the first agriculture model farm in Balochistan, with similar models being implemented in the provinces of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. He claimed three bridges were under-built to answer fishermen’s concerns following the completion of the Eastbay Expressway.
The Gwadar City Master Plan includes the city of Gwadar, the port, a new international airport, and associated transportation system, the construction of the East Bay Expressway, and improving the effectiveness of the Gwadar Free Zone to promote social and economic growth.