Is CPEC Development Focus Shifting From Gwadar to Karachi?

China has agreed to invest $3.5 billion in Karachi, according to Pakistani and Chinese officials. In a separate announcement earlier, Saudi Arabia said it is moving its planned $10 billion petrochemical complex from Gwadar to Karachi.  These announcements have triggered speculation that the focus of development of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is moving from Gwadar to Karachi. 

Karachi Port, Pakistan

The Karachi project dubbed "Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone project" or KCCDZ    includes additional new berths to Karachi port, development of a new fisheries port and a 640-hectare special economic zone near the port. The project also envisages building a harbor bridge connecting the port with the nearby Manora islands, according to Nikkei Asia

Gwadar Port City

Saudi decision to shift the $10 billion petrochemical plant from Gwadar to Karachi was triggered by the fact that there is no oil pipeline nor a rail line planned to support it at Gwadar. Karachi already has well-developed roads, rails, telecommunications and pipeline infrastructure for connectivity with the rest of the country. 

Map of Submarine Cable Connections to Karachi, Pakistan. Source: Te...

There are 10  submarine cables currently connecting or planned to connect Pakistan with the world: TransWorld1, Africa1 (2023), 2Africa (2023), AAE1, PEACE,  SeaMeWe3, SeaMeWe4, SeaMeWe5, SeaMeWe6 (2025) and IMEWE. PEACE cable has two landing stations in Pakistan: Karachi and Gwadar. SeaMeWe stands for Southeast Asia Middle East Western Europe, while IMEWE is India Middle East Western Europe and AAE1 Asia Africa Europe 1. PEACE cable is the latest. It is a privately owned submarine cable that originates in Karachi, Pakistan and runs underwater all the way to Marseilles, France via multiple points in the continent of Africa. 

Gwadar East Bay Expressway, Pakistan

China already has a lot invested in Gwadar.  Krzysztof Iwanek, head of the Asia Research Center at Warsaw's War Studies University, told Nikkei that the challenges of developing a major port in an underdeveloped area like Gwadar must have been factored in by China from the outset. "[I]t may be assumed that Chinese involvement in Gwadar may be at least partially strategic. Karachi, in turn, is Pakistan's most important port, and, hence, Chinese involvement there may be of purely economic nature," Iwanek said.

My own view is that Gwadar remains very important to China for strategic reasons. Gwadar sits very close to the strategic Strait of Hormuz that is used by tankers carrying the bulk of China's and the world's energy imports.  Karachi is the fastest and most economical route to making CPEC operational but it does not diminish the long-term importance of Gwadar for China. 

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Comment by Riaz Haq on October 11, 2021 at 9:42pm

Thar Energy’s 330MW Thar Coal-based project nears completion under CPEC
The plant will supply electricity to the national grid

In Sindh, the 330-megawatt Thar Energy Limited Power Project Block-II is being completed under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC.

According to an official, the power plant would supply electricity to the national grid under a 30-year power purchase agreement.

According to APP news agency, the power plant is a 330MW mine-mouth lignite-fired power project being built by Thar Energy, which is owned by the Hub Power Company or Hubco, China Machinery Engineering Corporation or CMEC and Fauji Fertilizer Company or FFC.

Similarly, two more coal-fired power plants, Engro Thar Block II power plant and Thal Nova, are also being developed in Thar Block II.

Engro’s Thar Block II power plant is a coal-fired power station in Sindh’s Tharparkar district. It was Pakistan’s first power plant to use the indigenous coal reserves of Thar.

The 660MW power plant, which was part of CPEC, was developed by Engro Powergen Thar or EPTL, a joint venture of Engro Powergen or EPL, CMEC, Habib Bank, and Liberty Mills. Construction on the Engro Thar Block II power plant commenced in April 2016. Trial operations at the plant began in July 2018 while commercial operations began in July 2019.

The coal-fired power plant is located five kilometres away from Thar Block II near Thar coalfields. It consists of two 330MW units, which integrated circulating fluidised bed or CFB boilers, tandem compound steam turbine units, and generators. CFB is an ideal option for the low-calorific-value Thar lignite coal.

It helped to regulate the plant’s environmental footprint by reducing nitrogen oxide emissions and capturing sulphur oxides. The 20kV, 50Hz, three-phase intercooled generators featured a hydrogen-cooled rotor and stator core, as well as water-cooled rotor windings.

The power plant is also equipped with associated equipment and systems such as cyclones, air pre-heaters, and water walls. Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company or SECMC supplied nearly 3.8 million tons per annum of coal for the coal-fired power plant from a new opencast mine.

The SECMC is a joint venture by the government of Sindh and Engro Powergen. The joint venture was formed for extracting coal available at the seventh biggest coal mine site in the Thar Desert.

The new coal-fired power plant fed electricity to a 500kV double-circuit transmission line of the grid network between Thar and the Hesco grid station in Jamshoro. The estimated cost of the Engro Thar power plant was $995.4 million – funded by a syndicate led by China Development Bank with the support from China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation.

The syndicate included Habib Bank, United Bank, Bank Alfalah, National Bank Pakistan, Faysal Bank, Construction Bank of China, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

ThalNova is a similar 330MW power plant being developed in the same block. The financial closing for the power plant was achieved in September 2020 and the commercial operations are scheduled to begin in 2022.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 17, 2021 at 12:59pm

#Pakistan minister Ali Zaidi denies #Chinese economic corridor (#cpec) projects shifting from #Gwadar to #Karachi amid worsening security. “Rather, the corridor project is moving into Karachi in addition to Gwadar and is expanding its framework”

A top Pakistani official has said that a proposed $3.5 billion coastal development project in the port city of Karachi is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, denying that the focus of the multibillion-dollar project was being shifted from Gwadar to Karachi.

Gwadar, in the southwestern province of Balochistan, is the crown jewel of China’s more than $60 billion CPEC investment in Belt and Road Initiative projects in Pakistan. The plan was to turn Gwadar into a trans-shipment hub and megaport to be built alongside special economic zones from which export-focused industries would ship goods worldwide. A web of energy pipelines, roads and rail links would connect Gwadar to China’s western regions.

However, growing insecurity and a rise in attacks by militants in Balochistan has rattled China, which has publicly demanded that Pakistan improve security for Chinese workers. Nine Chinese were killed this year in northwest Pakistan in an attack on a bus carrying them to a construction site. In a separate attack, a convoy of Chinese officials was targeted by a suicide bomber in Gwadar.

Thus, the announcement last month by Pakistan and China to include the Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone in the CPEC framework unleashed frantic speculation that the corridor project was being moved from the deep-sea port in the volatile Balochistan province.

“CPEC is not moving from Gwadar to Karachi,” Syed Ali Zaidi, the country’s maritime minister, told Arab News in an exclusive interview on Monday. “Rather, the corridor project is moving into Karachi in addition to Gwadar and is expanding its framework, which is great for us.”

“It (CPEC) is going to develop a whole new district in Karachi, which is going to be a state-of-the-art district equipped with technology and all modern infrastructure,” he said.

Elaborating on the financing plan for the project, he said that the $3.5 billion Chinese investment was not a loan or a grant, but the project was a partnership between a Chinese state-owned enterprise and the Karachi Port Trust, which owned the land.

“$3.5 billion will be invested to develop infrastructure where the KPT and (the Chinese) investor both will make money,” Zaidi said. “Instead of a loan or a grant, we have decided to do a win-win project, which means that people who are investing will also make some returns.”

The maritime minister said that the project would add four more berths to the targeted coastal area, providing greater depth to Pakistan’s expanding maritime sector and creating space for cruise ships to dock.

“We will build four berths maybe for cruise ships, and if we build for cruise ships there may be some hotels around it and this all has to be backed by real estate development,” he said. “But the real estate development is not the primary objective; the primary objective (is) to fix our marine environment and, on the top of it, build state-of-the-art modern infrastructure.”

A state-of-the-art fishing port would also be built, Zaidi said, along with a world-class fisheries export processing zone.

“A water treatment plant at the mouth of Lyari River would be built to improve marine ecosystem and reduce pollution in the Arabian Sea,” the minister said.

Zaidi said that the coastal development plan would also benefit the poor slum of Machar Colony in the area, mostly inhabited by the Bengali and Burmese communities: “We have decided to make 20,000 to 25,000 apartments in accordance with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision to promote low-cost housing to give respectable living (conditions) to our people.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 16, 2021 at 1:54pm

Karachi coastal project under CPEC to boost economy: officials - Pakistan Today

ISLAMABAD: The recent inclusion of the Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone (KCCDZ) project in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will boost Pakistan’s economy and enhance industrial and development cooperation between Pakistan and China, said experts and officials.

The decision to include the project in Karachi into the CPEC was made at the CPEC’s recent 10th Joint Cooperation Committee Meeting.

Covering a total area of about 930 hectares, of which 640 hectares are reclaimed, the environment-friendly KCCDZ envisages four new berths for the Karachi Port Trust (KPT), according to a statement from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs of Pakistan.

The mega project, being built with an expected investment of $3.5 billion, will also house a state-of-the-art fishing port, with a world-class fisheries export processing zone to boost the country’s trade potential, said the ministry.

It will also drastically improve the marine ecosystem and reduce pollution with the establishment of a water treatment plant, the ministry said.

Terming the project a game-changer for Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan recently said the coastal development project will bring Karachi on a par with developed port cities of the world.

The project will present opportunities for investors, he said on Twitter, adding that it will also help clean up marine habitats for fishermen and develop 20,000 low-income housing units.

The KCCDZ is the first of its kind under the CPEC, which reflects the commitment of Pakistan and China to forge high-quality cooperation to improve people’s livelihoods, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi told Xinhua.

“As all-weather strategic cooperative partners, China and Pakistan are stepping up cooperation in various sectors, giving impetus to the growth of bilateral relations, economic and social development of the two countries,” the minister said.

Speaking to Xinhua, Syed Hasan Javed, director of Chinese Studies, School of Social Sciences and Humanities at the National University of Science and Technology in Islamabad, said the KCCDZ is a 21st-century modern project replete with the latest technologies, town planning, urban infrastructure, municipal amenities and environment-friendly marine development.

“It will take Pakistan’s economy to the next level of prosperity by attracting foreign direct investment, generating employment and revenue, boosting exports and promoting regional and global connectivity,” Javed said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 30, 2021 at 4:37pm

Pakistan has seen a decline in direct investment from China. According to the State Bank of Pakistan, the central bank, Chinese FDI in the quarter that ended in September was just $76.9 million compared to $154.9 million in the same quarter last year.

FDI in the fiscal year that ended in June was also markedly down. Excluding fiscal 2019, which included a general election, the inflow totaled $757 million -- the least seen since 2015. In most years, Chinese FDI is 30-50% of the total, so the downward turn is a warning light for the economy.

The Chinese slowdown is also evident in Pakistan's trade figures. United Nations' data shows that China's exports to Pakistan have been declining since a $15 billion peak in 2017. There is a clear downward trend in manufactured goods and materials; iron and steel -- both crucial to infrastructure development -- fell steadily by 40% overall between 2016 and 2020.


The discord is not new, but generally kept behind closed doors. China's displeasure has, however, occasionally been leaked.

Around early 2019, Yao Jing, the Chinese ambassador, met in Quetta with officials from the Balochistan provincial government. Although it was never officially confirmed, he was extremely critical. "You people are not taking seriously the delays in the issuance of permission to a Chinese company to start working on a coal-fired power plant in Gwadar," he said.

Such rifts between the two sides have become more evident, and led to reduced Chinese investment and exports to Pakistan.

Islamabad is alarmed by the costliness of Chinese projects. Tabish Gauhar, Pakistan's special assistant to the prime minister on power and petroleum, stated in cabinet in August that a CPEC power project is 25% more expensive than the international norm.

"The Chinese ambassador has complained to me that you have destroyed CPEC, and that no work was done in the past three years," Saleem Mandviwalla, chairman of Senate Standing Committee on Planning and Development, said at a September committee meeting after Chinese diplomats and officials defended the 135 Chinese companies operating in Pakistan.

"China has become more cautious in general and with regard to Pakistan," James M. Dorsey, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore told Nikkei. "As many investors do, they look more at the return on investment than they did before."

Dorsey believes the turning point for China came in early 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing trade disputes. He believed another significant reason to be the growing number of foreign governments failing to keep up with repayments.

Other factors may be playing into the slowdown, power generation being a good example. With its new plants online, Pakistan's installed capacity has reached almost 40,000 megawatts while peak electricity demand is 25,000 MW.


China and Pakistan remain bonded by their perception of India as a common enemy. China wants a friendly neighbor to its south, while Pakistan seeks the blessing of a global power that is not transactional like the U.S.

Can Pakistan re-energize Chinese interest and investment? One Pakistani official believes not.

"With the end of the early harvest phase of CPEC, China-led infrastructure development has peaked in Pakistan," a government official told Nikkei on condition of anonymity.

"CPEC is not over yet, but in the remaining nine years, we can't expect to see even a fraction of the infrastructure development that took place between 2015 and 2020," he said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 14, 2021 at 5:40pm

Pakistan to Boost Shipping Fleet to Tackle Global Logistics Crisis. #Pakistan has over 1,000 Km coastline & 3 major ports, including #Karachi. It's close to #Africa, #MiddleEast, #Arab Gulf oil. Pak NSC has a fleet of 11 ships, wants to buy another 4 ships

Pakistan is working to boost the capacity of its shipping fleet to draw on its strategic geographical position and help tackle the effects of a global supply chain crisis, the country’s maritime minister told Reuters.

Pakistan has a coastline of over 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) and three major ports, including Karachi. It is two days sailing time from destinations in Africa and the Middle East and its western shoreline is close to the Strait of Hormuz oil chokepoint.

A surge in demand for retail goods from people stuck at home under pandemic-related lockdowns and logjams impacting the supply of container ships and boxes to transport cargo have led to bottlenecks around the globe, which are set to continue into 2022.

Pakistan's Federal Minister of Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi said the country is in negotiations "through a public private mechanism to create joint ventures to expand into container shipping".

"The supply chain problems are faced by everyone and Pakistan is also affected. There are issues everywhere and this is one of the ways we are trying to deal with this longer term," he said on a visit to London.

The state-controlled Pakistan National Shipping Corporation has a fleet of 11 ships including oil tankers and dry bulkers and has issued a tender for another four ships, Zaidi said.

Pakistan would initially charter space on container ships "and test the market before we start discussion on how many (container ships) we acquire," he added.

Pakistan was also seeking to develop as a port hub for landlocked central Asian countries, Zaidi said, and that it was vital critical supplies reached neighboring Afghanistan after the Taliban's victory in August.

"The world and the financial superpowers cannot and should not abandon Afghanistan. If they do, it will be a catastrophic humanitarian (crisis)," he said. "It is our moral obligation to help them."

U.N. agency UNCTAD said in November smaller countries are expected to feel the most impact from the higher costs of importing goods.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 15, 2021 at 11:36am

Pakistan's Gwadar Port Protests Should Be a Wake-Up Call for Islamabad

by Arif Rafiq

Rather than transforming this isolated Pakistani city, China’s Belt and Road Initiative has only created great expectations and even greater disappointment. Ultimately, the responsibility for this failure lies on the Pakistani state, which adopted a fundamentally flawed strategy ill-suited for Gwadar, built on a series of assumptions that have been proven to be incorrect.

For starters, Pakistan assumed that Gwadar was absolutely vital to Chinese interests, especially in helping Beijing overcome its reliance on energy imported via the Malacca Strait. But as a 2020 U.S. Naval War College study makes clear, Chinese analysts generally see a Pakistan-based overland energy pipeline to Xinjiang as economically unviable. And there is even some pushback in China’s strategic community on whether it really faces a “Malacca dilemma.”

These perspectives rarely make it into Pakistan’s domestic discourse on China. One reason for this is that Pakistan lacks independent China experts, despite its close strategic partnership with China. Most Pakistani commentators—some of whom are paid by Beijing—stick to the official script. It’s no wonder Pakistani officials are then left blindsided when Beijing’s policy priorities and risk appetite shift.

A second reason: Pakistan—like Djibouti, Kenya, and Sri Lanka—assumed that China’s Shenzhen or Shekou model is not only replicable but also plug and play. This discounts the fundamentally different natures of the Chinese and Pakistani states. China is an authoritarian, hierarchical, developmental state. Pakistan is a semi-democratic, disaggregated rentier state marred by criminality and incompetence from the top down.

The Pakistani state simply lacks the will to create value in the global economy. It is largely focused on extracting from its populace and foreign donors. And it dithers on any sort of policy reform. In the case of Gwadar, it took years for Islamabad to simply pass into law tax exemptions for the port and free zone that are key to attracting foreign direct investment there.

Third, Pakistan’s trickle-down strategy for Gwadar is inappropriate for Balochistan. To begin with, there’s been little economic growth in Gwadar to actually trickle down to locals. And the province, which is Pakistan’s poorest but also home to its oldest and largest natural gas field, has been hit by multiple secessionist insurgencies since Pakistan’s founding, driven in part by resource nationalism. Separatist terrorist groups have also targeted Pakistani nationals from other provinces, including teachers, deemed as “settlers.”

But insensitive claims of an imminent influx of Chinese nationals, including by a luxury real estate developer in 2017, intensified Baloch fears they would be displaced by outside capital and labor in Gwadar. Those specific fears may be unfounded. But instead of an influx of foreign residents, Gwadar is seeing a surge in fishing trawlers from the neighboring Sindh province and China, whose massive hauls are destroying local incomes.

The original plan for Gwadar under CPEC did contain some admirable social sector projects. For example, China has funded the expansion of a middle school and established an emergency medical center in Gwadar. But these are just drops in the bucket for an area with a population close to 100,000 in 2017. Major projects—including a vocational training center, medical hospital, and desalination plant—have either been delayed, scaled down, or dropped. Given Balochistan’s fraught history with Pakistan’s central government, Islamabad should have front-loaded projects that would have provided basic services, especially clean water.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 15, 2021 at 11:37am

Pakistan's Gwadar Port Protests Should Be a Wake-Up Call for Islamabad

by Arif Rafiq

Fourth, Islamabad structured its plans for Gwadar based on an incorrect assessment of the city’s natural advantages. It has envisioned Gwadar as a “gateway port” serving the hinterland of Pakistan, Afghanistan, other countries in Central Asia, and Xinjiang. But given its isolated location, Gwadar stacks up poorly in terms of cost and efficiency when compared to regional competitors, including Pakistan’s own Karachi and Qasim ports.

The Gwadar port, however, can be dredged to a depth of 20 meters, making it a potentially viable location for transshipment—allowing very large, cost-efficient vessels to offload cargo to be loaded on to smaller ships servicing shallower regional ports. Indeed, the consulting firm that developed the original master plan for the port assessed that transit trade with the Central Asian republics via Gwadar had “little potential” but that there were decent prospects in the longer term for transshipment.

Finally, Pakistan’s top-down political model in Gwadar doesn’t work. Protests in 2018 by fishermen against an expressway that cut off their access to the sea made clear that locals were afterthoughts in the design of key infrastructure projects. Gwadar’s fishermen once again taking to the streets indicates a failure of the political process to address their needs. They simply do not trust the government.

Last week, in a Twitter Spaces discussion, Balochistan Provincial Minister Zahoor Buledi noted that he had held five or six meetings with protest leader Maulana Hidayat ur Rehman Baloch of the Jamaat-e-Islami party. But the maulana (an honorific given to Islamic clerics) and other participants in the session felt promises made to them would not be fulfilled once the protests stopped and media cameras went away and suggested that some corrupt officials were acting in connivance with various “mafias.”

The reflex of the Pakistani state—particularly in Balochistan, where enforced disappearances by security forces are rampant—is to respond to large-scale protests and unrest with intimidation and, sometimes, violent coercion. Given New Delhi’s hand in the Baloch insurgency, which has conducted high-profile attacks in Gwadar in recent years, the opportunistic, heavy coverage of the protests by state-aligned “private” Indian news outlets also triggers the anxieties of the Pakistani security services. But these protests are simply an organic reaction by Gwadar’s people to the endangerment of their livelihoods and the failure of their own state to respond to their basic needs.

The cries of Gwadar protestors should serve as a wake-up call for Islamabad. While terrorist attacks, including a 2019 assault on Gwadar’s only major hotel, serve to deter foreign investment, a heavy security crackdown will only further alienate locals and compound the problem. Islamabad needs to break out of the cycle of violence by developing a new strategy to win the peace in Balochistan.

That strategy should include several specific elements. For one, Islamabad and the Balochistan provincial government need to develop a political framework to include locals in the developmental design process, city governance, and security services. They should also fast-track large-scale desalination projects to better address local water demand. The current water strategy centers on dams—an unreliable source of water for an area hit by drought.

To counter Baloch fears of resource plundering, CPEC needs a strong redistributive policy for southern Balochistan. Islamabad and the provincial Balochistan government in Quetta city should create a wealth fund for natives of Gwadar and the Makran coastal region, providing them with an annual basic income sourced from royalties on energy and mining industries and taxes on luxury real estate and tourism.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 2, 2022 at 10:17am

#Gwadar Update from #China COPHC Chairman Zhang Baozhong: “Gwadar will become the logistics hub in this region within 5 years” Gwadar Free Zone Manager Dadaullah Yousuf said 46 enterprises have so far been registered for #investment in the free zone. #CPEC

“I will grow up to become a doctor. I want to travel around the world and show them what we are capable of,” declared Habiba Qadir, a student of China-Pakistan Gwadar Faqeer Middle School, in an interview with the China Economic Net.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) reached an important milestone on November 13, 2016 with the first shipment of trade cargo from Gwadar Port to international destinations.

Five years on, Gwadar Port has entered 2022 with hope, determination and achievement.

“For those who have visited it before, they do realise that there has been a lot of development here,” Gwadar Port Authority Chairman Naseer Khan Kashani pointed out while reviewing the five-year journey of Gwadar Port.

Reaching to a bigger world

Gwadar has made huge progress when it comes to port operation and port economy.

“According to our plan, Gwadar will become the logistics hub in this region within five years,” China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) Chairman Zhang Baozhong said confidently.

There had been no single commercial shipping line connecting Gwadar Port for the past 10 years, and the port merely relied on government-diverted cargo with huge subsidised road transport, noted Baozhong.

But things have changed since COPHC took over the port and infrastructure improved, especially when Afghan transit cargo started going through Gwadar Port on January 14, 2020.

In spite of the negative Covid-19 pandemic impact on business development, more than 100,000 tonnes of Afghan cargo have been handled at the port.

“LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) ships and bulk cargo vessels can be seen coming frequently,” he underlined.

All these activities not only generated a lot of business opportunities for Pakistani stevedoring companies, transporters, customer clearance and many others, but also helped stabilise supply to Afghanistan and other landlocked countries in Central Asia.

Talking about Gwadar Free Zone, the first modern industrial park in Pakistan, Gwadar Free Zone Manager Dadaullah Yousuf said that until now 46 enterprises have been registered for investment in the free zone, mainly covering logistics, warehousing, halal food processing, agriculture, textile, etc.

Right now, Gwadar Free Zone phase-1 has been successfully completed, while work on the much larger phase-2, covering an area of 2,221 acres, has been started.

“More and more investors are showing keen interest in investing here,” Baozhong said.

Development benefits local community

The development of the economy relies a lot on people, and it also empowers people to lead a better life. Education, first of all, is the foundation.

China-Pakistan Gwadar Faqeer Middle School, donated by China Foundation for Peace and Development, has been in operation for five years with the sponsorship of COPHC.

Now, this school is one of the best in Gwadar. More than 700 boys and girls are attending the school to receive education.

Naseem Ahmad, descendant of land donator and teacher at China-Pakistan Gwadar Faqeer Middle School, told the China Economic Net that after the school had been made, the locals got more development programmes, and real estate and businesses have increased.

“We can say that this school has contributed as an integral part of our area.”

Port boosting local employment

“Almost 80% of our workers are locals,” Muhammad Saleem Butt, Head of Gwadar Port Operations GITL, told the China Economic Net.

“Actually almost 90% of our local staff was only capable of, maybe, the watchman job when they first came here,” noted Zing, Office Manager of China Business Centre in Gwadar, adding that there were not too many schools nor technical agencies in the city.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 12, 2022 at 10:17am

With 80 buses, Karachi's Green Line becomes fully operational

A new and unknown world of mass transit opened up for Karachiites as the Green Line bus service became fully operational on Mon­day. As many as 80 buses could be spotted moving towards Surjani Town from Numaish and the other way around from 7am till 10pm.

Venturing inside the entrance, you find yourself heading downstairs to a two-level basement. The first level had the ticketing area.

For now one can get tickets in two ways one of which is going to the ticketing booth and pay Rs55 for a ticket for whether you are travelling to the station ahead or to all 22 stations. But another better and economical way is to buy a Rs100 card which can be topped up. As you reach a station to get off, the machines there will deduct your fare as per kilometre of your travelling.

Later, there will be more options for buying tickets.

“You will also have the option of buying tickets through vending machines, which we will be made functional in a week or so. And within two to three months there will also be point of sale or POS machines attached to the vending machines as these can charge you through your credit or debit cards,” Abdul Aziz, the senior manager (bus operation and intelligence transport system) of the Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (SIDCL), explained to Dawn.

He said that they had tried to replicate UK’s bus system here.

Telling more about the vending machines at the bus stations here, he said that they are state-of-the-art machines bought from Turkey, which can also accept currency notes.

“The vending machines, when fully operational, will issue tickets as well as top-up cards, which will help lessen human interaction in a Covid environment. Still, the less tech savvy can go to the ticketing booth,” he said.

“There will also be another option of topping up your bus cards through your mobile app, which is also going to begin in a couple of months. Your card will carry a unique ID number that you can enter to top up through your credit or debit card, Easypaisa, etc, right from the comfort of your home,” he added.

Non-fare revenue
He also spoke about minimising government subsidy here. “For this we have worked on non-fare revenue, too. The government can earn from bus fares and from non-fare ways as well such as advertisements. For that we have kept digital marketing inside the buses as well as printed ads,” he said.

Meanwhile, going another level down, you can catch your bus, which stops at the station only for two to three minutes.

But that doesn’t mean that you need to hurry as there is no chance of you ever missing your bus. One bus leaves, and another comes in within three minutes of its leaving.

Getting on the bus from Numaish, which for now is an end as well as start of route station, you notice that there are not many people leaving from there and the buses are heading off quite empty.

“That’s because the pattern is such that most people come towards their business or work area in the morning. Most markets and offices happen to be in the Saddar area and so people are travelling this direction. The rush to the way back home will pick up in the afternoon,” Mr Aziz pointed out.

He also said that SIDCL has a central command and control centre in the Garden area. “Currently, we are doing an origin and destination survey also. In about one or two months we will have data about how many travellers are using our buses and travelling from where. After that we may even revise the bus timings,” he said.

He also shared that for park and ride, they will also be opening up parking spaces from Station 2, which is the KDA Flats station to Station 9, which is the U.P. Morr Station.

“That was you can come, park your vehicle and get on the bus. This is also known as ‘last mile connectivity’,” he said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 25, 2022 at 5:58pm

#Freight #train service launched to link #Karachi container terminal with rest of #Pakistan. A 3.7km, high-tech train track laid at the Hutchison Ports Pakistan connecting the facility to the rest of the country. #Railway - DAWN.COM

Several terminals for freight service planned: Swati
• Says Railways will become profitable within six months

KARACHI: The huge and powerful dark green locomotive attached to a long line of big and small freight containers awaited the inauguration ceremony to be off on its way at the Hutchison Ports Pakistan, also known as the South Asia Pakistan Terminal, on Monday.

Then as soon as the ribbon was cut, it honked loudly while making the slouching guests sit up straight in their chairs as it chugged away on its new ballastless tracks. Expected to take away the traffic congestion caused by container trucks on roads and highways here, this freight train will reach its destination, Lahore, in up to four days.

The freight train service also coincides with the commissioning of a 3.7km, high-tech train track laid at the Hutchison Ports Pakistan connecting the facility to the rest of the country in a seamless manner through Pakistan Railway’s extensive network spread throughout the country.

This new track laid within the terminal comprised three rail sidings of 700 metres each alongside a crippled wagon sliding. The tracks are embedded in concrete and are ballastless, which is a better, albeit a more expensive option than the traditional sleeper/ballast design used in Pakistan. Switching between the tracks and signalling is carried out using a computer-based interlocking system, eliminating the need for manual switching. As many as three freight trains can be handled simultaneously using rubber-tyred gantry cranes with a quick turnaround. Another track can also be added.

Captain Syed Rashid Jamil, general manager and head of business unit at Hutchison Ports Pakistan, said that with the commencement of the freight train service, they were expanding their contribution towards Pakistan’s trade. “We are extending our physical gates to somewhere in Multan, Sialkot and Lahore as the containers will be discharged from the ships and put on a train that will deliver them to the customers at their factory gates,” he said.


“Karachi needs to be an international standard business hub. Pakistan’s entire business, its industry, its trade all come from here. It only needs good governance to transform this city and this country,” he said.

The federal minister announced they needed to work at connecting Port Qasim Authority with this freight train service too. “We should also be transporting coal and oil via railway,” he said.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail said port cities across the world were responsible for their country’s prosperity and Karachi was a port city.

Earlier, Pakistan had its flag-carrier PIA, Railways and Pakistan Steel Mills to be proud of, the governor said, “but now PIA is running losses, the Pakistan Railways is running losses and the Steel Mills happen to be a burden on the exchequer. It is so because our country fell in the wrong hands”.

“But now we have people like Railways Minister Swati and Minister for Maritime Affairs like Ali Zaidi, who are powerful pillars. They are doers. [PM] Imran Khan has chosen the best people in his cabinet. We were labelled as incompetent in our first year of governance but we kept working with the uplift of economy as our main focus despite the Covid-19 pandemic and now Imran Khan is the first prime minister in years to have completed the longest term in office,” he said.

PSO, Railways ink MoU
In a related development, Pakistan State Oil (PSO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pakistan Railways for the supply of POL products, transportation and other businesses.


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