In recent years have seen China emerge as Pakistan’s primary geo-economic partner. Whether it’s about building industrial and economic corridors, educational systems, or strategic infrastructure, Pakistan and China have encouraged each other to work together to emerge as powerful allies. The recent developments in the port of Gwadar are aligned with these plans.
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project has seen the completion of projects worth $11 billion in succession with much more to follow. The development of the Gwadar Port has been one of the most significant projects under CPEC, and experts around the world see this as a significant development in the subcontinent. While finalising the deal, Pakistan was determined to develop a port in the same style as that of the Chinese port in Shenzhen.
China attaches significant importance to the Shenzhen Port and its ability to generate regional wealth. This has not gone unnoticed by the international business community. Gwadar has taken note of the rapid growth of Shenzhen in China.
Shenzhen has been ranking second in terms of total import and export volume in China, after Shanghai. According to data taken in 2016, it shows that the Shenzhen Port managed 23.98 million TEUs. The port accounts for covering over 130 international container routes and taking in more than 600 ships monthly. China’s trade has relied a lot on the Shenzhen Port in the last few years, and Pakistani officials have been closely observing the success of the port.
Pakistan hopes to adapt the same Shenzhen model as a template for success, by helping China in its mission to get better access to the Indian Ocean.
In recent news around the Gwadar area, Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan, stated that more business people are looking forward to investing in the Gwadar region once the development is completed. After the 23-year tax relief and other steps from the Pakistani government in the Gwadar Free Zone, more and more businesses are rushing in with their money to acquire partnerships in Gwadar. The Gwadar area is echoing the development trajectory of Shenzhen city.
Shenzhen’s development into a thriving city was applauded by the whole world. The population went up from 11 million to a substantial 60 million in just a decade. Infrastructure and opportunities in the area became huge for the Chinese population.
With an investment of more than $248 million in Gwadar’s first phase, the Chinese have shown their interest. Apart from the Chinese, investments have also started to flow in from businesses and Pakistani expats living in other nations.
The Pakistani government has made Gwadar port as a Tax-free zone for a period of time which will attract many businesses and firms.
More is yet to come for Gwadar with the construction of a $10 million Pak-China Technical and Vocational Training Institute in Gwadar. A water desalination plant with the cost of Rs1.95 billion to provide 5,000 gallons of water per day to the people. The setting up of 68-acre Pak-China Friendship Hospital at an estimated cost of $100 million are already being seen as significant strides in building a port city similar to the Shenzhen city in China.
The development processes that played a role in building Shenzhen into a large metropolis from a rural village has been a guide for Pakistan in Gwadar. Pakistan believes that with China’s assistance and its resources, they can attain a progressive city for themselves in a strategically important location, bringing along prosperity and wealth to the mainland for years to come.