China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Chairman Lt-Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa said on Monday that Iran’s trade through the Gwadar Port would start very soon, as work in this regard was in progress.
In a video message, the CPEC Authority chairman noted that smuggling to and from Iran was on the decline because of the increase in the regulated trade.
“The Ramadan-Gabd crossing point near Gwadar is active and fully functional now, fencing work with Pakistan-Iran border is going on rapidly and new border markets are being established at the crossing points,” he said.
Bajwa said after completion of the development works of Gwadar Port and the first phase of the Gwadar Free Zone, Prime Minister Imran Khan would perform the ground breaking of the second phase of the zone.
“Compared to the first phase, which comprised of 60 acres of land, the second phase will be a huge project, comprising of 2,200 acres of land,” he said. “Some 46 enterprises are engaged in the Free Zone Phase-I, while 12 factories are being established, out of which three are completed.”
Read more: ‘Second phase of CPEC to focus on B2B, P2P ties’
Bajwa said around 7 to 8 big Chinese investors from Shanghai would also participate in the ground breaking ceremony, where they would make commitments to the Gwadar Zone and inform about their future plans in Pakistan.
He informed that the traffic at the Gwadar port was increasing with the passage of each day. Last year, he added, the trade volume increased by manifold, as “60,000MT of cargo was transported during the year 2020-21 compared to only 1,300MT” in the preceding year.
“Five LPG [liquified petroleum gas] vessels were berthed at the Gwadar Port,” he said, adding that in the future, the cargo volume would increase with even higher pace as interest for trans-shipment and industrialisation was increasing with each passing day.
Bajwa said that the prime minister would sign an accord for installation of desalination plant in the city with capacity of 1.2 million gallons per day (gpd). “The project will be a gift from the Chinese government and it will be completed within a year.”
The CPEC Authority chairman also said that the provision of basic facilities, including electricity, water and health, was the prime focus of the prime minister. He added that another water desalination plant with capacity of 5 million gpd was also included in the prime minister South Balochistan package.