Pakistan's Gwadar Port Operations Handed Over to China for 40 Years
State-run firm China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) will take over the operations of Pakistan's Gwadar port for 40 years, Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, minister for ports and shipping, said on Thursday.
The Chinese firm will perform all the development work connected to the Gwadar port. According to the Economic Times, the COPHC will collect 91 percent share from the gross revenue of terminal and marine operations, and 85 percent from gross revenue of free trade operations. And based on the constitution, the provinces will have no share in revenue collection.
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Gwadar is featured in the $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) plan and is also considered a link between the Chinese One Belt, One Road initiative and the Maritime Silk Road program, the Hindustan Times reported. Gwadar comprise the southern Pakistan hub of the CEPC infrastructure and energy project that Beijing introduced in 2014.
Pakistan received in 2016 its first large shipment of Chinese goods at Gwadar, where the COPHC took over operations in 2013. The port is poised to handle between 300 million and 400 million tons of cargo annually. It also plans to develop seafood processing plants in a neighboring free trade zone.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, Pakistan has also approved Russia's request to utilize the Gwadar port. Speculations further surface that Russia also wants to join the CPEC and merge with the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union.
Such rumors were quickly brushed off; however, state-media The Global Times pointed that permitting Moscow to join the CPEC is not a terrible idea as it will open more doors for cooperation between China, Russia, and Pakistan.
Aside from Russia, Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff said that several other countries have also expressed interest in joining the CPEC.