Inauguration of the 19.49 km Eastbay Highway from the port of Gwadar in Pakistan
The Gwadar Port Eastbay Expressway, the construction of which was aided by the Chinese government, was inaugurated in the city of Gwadar, in the province of Balochistan, in the southwest of Pakistan.
Developed within the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the project was officially launched in 2017 by the China Communications Construction Company, Ltd. (CCCC)a multinational engineering and construction company whose principal activity is the design, construction and operation of infrastructure assets, such as highways, bridges, tunnels, railways (in particular high-speed trains), metros, airports, oil rigs and seaports.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif thanked China for the grant and explained that the West Asian country has built a very high quality highway that will connect the port of Gwadar to the upcoming coastal highway. According to Sharif, the Eastbay highway will improve connectivity and facilitate the transportation of goods from the port to the southern port city of Karachi in the future.
A 50 megawatt independent power plant will be built at Gwadar Port
Meanwhile, a proposal to install a 50 megawatt independent power plant in collaboration with Chinese power producers in the port of Gwadar is expected to be presented at a crucial meeting between the government and Chinese companies.
This came to light following the power shortage in Gwadar which remained at the top during Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to the port city. According to reports, long-term and short-term proposals from the side of the Prime Minister and China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) will also represent other Chinese companies, have been established and the meeting will give the go-ahead for the quick action plan to solve the electricity problems.
Overview of Gwadar Port
Gwadar Port is located on the Arabian Sea at Gwadar in Pakistan, controlled by the Maritime Secretary of Pakistan and under the operational control of the China Overseas Port Holding Company. The port is a main feature of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and should be the link between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Maritime Silk Road projects. It lies about 170 kilometers east of the port of Chabahar and 120 kilometers southwest of Turbat.
Gwadar Port is being developed in two phases, with the first phase covering the construction of three multi-purpose quays, associated port infrastructure and port handling equipment. This phase was completed in December 2006 but later inaugurated on March 20, 2007.
Also read: The Great Hall project at Denver International Airport.
Phase II development.
The second phase of development is currently underway under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Plan and other auxiliary programs. The completed project is expected to cost $1.02 billion.
As part of the CPEC plan, China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC) will construct nine new multi-purpose berths on a 3.2 kilometer waterfront east of the existing multi-purpose berths. Cargo terminals will also be constructed to the north and northwest of the site 12 kilometers along the shoreline of Demi Zirr Bay.
COPHC has awarded contracts worth $1.02 billion for the expansion of the port. Port infrastructure expansion plans will also include several programs that will be financed by loans from Chinese state-owned banks. The dredging project at Gwadar Port will deepen the approach channels to 14 meters in depth from the previous 11.5 meters, with the work costing $27 million. This will facilitate the mooring of huge vessels of up to 70,000 deadweight tonnage from the current maximum capacity of 20,000 DWT. The Future plan foresees dredging at 20 meters to allow the berthing of even larger vessels. The plan also calls for a $130 million breakwater around the port.
A desalination plant will be developed at $114 million to provide drinking water to the city, while the Pakistani government will provide $35 million for infrastructure projects around the Gwadar Special Economic Zone. A 19 kilometer long dual carriageway dubbed the Gwadar East Bay Highway will also be constructed at a cost of $140 million to link Gwadar Port to the existing Makran Coastal Highway and Gwadar International Airport from 230 millions of dollars.
A floating liquefied natural gas facility with a daily capacity of 500 million cubic feet will also be built at the port. The facility will be part of the $2.5 billion Gwadar-Nawabshah segments of the Iranian-Pakistani gas pipeline being delivered under a joint venture between the China National Petroleum Company and pakistan Interstate Gas System.
The first phase of the construction of Gwadar Port started in 2002 till 2006 when it was completed and inaugurated in 2007.
It was revealed that the port and city will be further developed under the CPEC at a cost of $1.62 billion with the aim of connecting western China and northern Pakistan to the deep sea port. . Later that year, China acquired the port on a 43-year lease until 2059.
Construction began in June in the Gwadar Special Economic Zone, being developed in a 2,292-acre area next to Gwadar Port.
In September, Pakistan’s Senate expressed concern over the slow development of Phase II projects in Gwadar, as many had not started construction.
In January, Pakistan engaged the port of Gwadar in Afghan transit trade.
An implementation agreement on Chinese government assistance for the construction of a desalination plant was also signed. With construction underway, 100 wharves will be built by 2045 and will have a capacity to handle 400 million tons of cargo per year.
China and Pakistan have decided to redouble their efforts to exploit the full potential of the Gwadar port and free zone, ensuring that the local population fully benefits from the program. One of the meetings expressed the request to finalize the marketing and investment ambitions for Free Zone as well as its implementation strategy. The plan was to be presented to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Cabinet Committee for consideration.
They all expressed satisfaction with the progress made on different projects, including the full operationalization of Gwadar Port and the inclusion of the Afghan Transit Trade Route; the completion of the Technical and Vocational Institute of Pak-China; finalization of the Master Plan at Smart Port City; notable progress on the Eastbay Freeway; work begins at Pakistan-China Friendship Hospital and New Gwadar International Airport.
It was also noted that the project called Gwadar Free Zone Phase-1 has been successfully completed, with work underway on the larger second phase, covering 2,221 acres.