The first landed large-scale energy project in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Kasim Port coal-fired power station, took 30 months of arduous construction, and the first unit was officially put into operation in November last year, marking the beginning of the early harvest project in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. A major energy project entered the substantive production stage. The picture shows a panoramic view of the coal fired power station in Qasim.
The opening ceremony of the Free Zone of Gwadar Port in Pakistan and the first session of the Gwadar International Commodity Fair ended. This marks that the construction of the Gwadar port has entered a new phase, and the gateway to the Indian Ocean for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has opened.
In February of 4 years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistani President Hussein reached a consensus to include Gwadar as the flagship project for the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. In the past four years, under the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, 20 or more early-stage harvesting projects have been under construction or completed, covering energy, transportation, and ports. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has become a demonstration project of the “Belt and Road Initiative”. According to the long-term planning of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor announced in 2017, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will be initially formed before 2020, basically breaking the bottleneck that restricts Pakistan’s economic and social development and driving the economic development of countries along the route.
The shortage of electricity has always been a problem that has constrained Pakistan’s economic development. Even big cities such as the capital, Islamabad, are often subject to power cuts. The energy sector has thus become a top priority for the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
On November 29, 2017, the first unit of the coal-fired power station in Qassim Port, jointly invested by China Power Construction and the Qatar Royal Fund AMC, was officially held and the project entered a substantive production stage. According to Ruan Zhiyong, Chairman of China Power Construction Group, since the start of the project, Unit 1 has been put into production for power generation in just 30 months, and Unit 2 of the power station has been fully loaded at the end of January this year. After the two power stations of the power station have all achieved commercial operations, the average annual on-grid power generation is about 9 billion kilowatt-hours, which can meet the electricity demand of the local 4 million households.
Pakistani Prime Minister Abbasi said at the launch ceremony that the coal-fired power station in Kassim will provide the Palestinian people with clean, low-cost clean energy and create a large number of jobs. Pakistan is willing to further strengthen pragmatic cooperation with China, continue to promote the construction of the corridor, and jointly promote the development of bilateral relations.
According to Yao Jing, the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, the coal-fired power station in Kassim has not only been built by Chinese professional teams in cooperation with Pakistan, but also supported by business partners from Qatar, reflecting the openness, inclusiveness, and mutual benefit of the corridor.
The energy sector is the fastest-growing and most effective field in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The completed projects can provide 1.82 million kilowatts of electricity, which greatly eases the shortage of electricity supply in Pakistan and has a profound impact on Pakistan’s adjustment of its power energy structure and reduction of power generation costs.
On December 9, 2017, at the foundation laying ceremony of a gas-fired power plant project in Highwill, Punjab Province, Punjab Chief Minister Shabaz thanked the Chinese government for helping Pakistan overcome the power crisis. “If there is no cooperation from China, the Pakistani side will not be able to achieve this goal. We should always remember the Chinese story of genuine commitment and friendship.”
Rail transit: meeting the daily travel of 250,000 people
Economic development, traffic first. The launch of a number of key projects such as Pakistan’s second largest city, the Lahore Rail Transit Orange Line project in Punjab Province, has effectively promoted the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
In May 2017, the first train of the Orange Line project of the rail traffic in Lahore, the capital of Punjab Province, came off the assembly line and arrived in Lahore in October. On October 8, Punjab Public Transport Company held a grand reception ceremony. According to reports, the orange line project is expected to meet the daily travel of 250,000 people after it is put into operation, which will greatly ease the traffic tension in Lahore.
“The application of Chinese standards, technologies and equipment in construction will enable Pakistan to achieve leap-forward development in related fields.” Aslan, a Pakistani engineer involved in the construction of the Orange Line project, told this reporter.
The orange line project has also created a wide range of social benefits. Four Pakistani companies participated in the construction of the civil engineering project. More than 5,000 technicians and workers were involved, and a large number of people participated in the cleaning, guarding, and security of the resident and construction sites. The project leased warehouses and various construction machinery locally.
Purchasing raw materials such as sand, stone and cement has brought a lot of business opportunities to related industries such as food, clothing, housing, and transportation. In addition, the orange line project has also produced a positive spillover effect: the major cities in Pakistan have adopted the orange line model to develop urban rail transit.
In the mountains and mountains of northwestern Pakistan, the construction site of the second phase of the Karakoram Highway upgrade and reconstruction project is active, and the builders of China Road and Bridge Engineering Co., Ltd. under China Communications Construction are active. They will use 42 months to build a 120-kilometer, two-way four-lane (some two-lane) expressway and secondary road between Harvey and Tacot.
The Karakoram Highway is currently the only land traffic channel between China and Pakistan. The second phase of the project will extend the Karakoram Highway to the hinterland on the basis of upgrading the original road. At the same time, the second phase of the project is at the core road section of the land corridor of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and is an important part of the main skeletons of the Pakistani road network.
In the vast Punjab Plain in eastern Pakistan, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is responsible for the implementation of China Construction, is currently building the largest transport infrastructure project in Peshawar to Karachi Highway (Sukol to Multan). The project is Pakistan’s first freeway with an intelligent transportation system and will serve as a major artery and national defense gateway linking Pakistan’s north and south.
In addition, China and Pakistan recently signed an agreement on the upgrade and reconstruction of the Pakistani No. 1 railway line and the construction of the new Harvey Lianlu Port project. With the completion of the No. 1 rail line, it will effectively improve the transportation capacity in the north and south of the country, and promote the economic development along the railway.
Gwadar: The business environment has taken shape and local people’s livelihood has improved significantly
In 2013, China Overseas Port Holdings Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “China Kong Control”) obtained the right to operate Gwadar ports and free zones. Nowadays, Gwadar Port has undergone a new look, the functions of the port have been restored, the operation of the terminal has returned to normal, and the second phase of the terminal construction has been stepped up.
The construction of the start zone of the Gwadar Free Zone has also been steadily progressing, and more than 20 Chinese and Pakistani enterprises have entered the park. Hu Yaozong, deputy general manager of Gwadar Port Free Zone Co., Ltd., told this reporter that the enthusiasm of investors exceeded expectations, all land parcels were all leased out and development deposits were received. After the enterprises are put into operation, the annual output value will exceed RMB 5 billion, creating a large number of job opportunities for the small town residents with a population of less than 100,000.
The local people have benefited directly from the port construction. A seawater desalination facility with a daily capacity of 5.5 million gallons installed by a Chinese company can not only meet the production and living needs of the port, but also provide free fresh water to nearby residents every month. In support of the development of local education, China’s Hong Kong’s control is one year ahead: in 2013, 3 school buses were donated to Gwadar Elementary School; in 2014, a Hong Kong-controlled scholarship was established to sponsor local students to study and study in China; Support China Peace Development Foundation in Gwadar to build Buffalo Elementary School. China Hong Kong Control is also one of the first donated companies in the “Silk Road Pokéom Foundation” that specializes in the construction of the “Belt and Road” initiative, providing land for the construction of China-Pakistan Emergency Aid Corridor. In May 2017, the first aid unit of the China-Pakistan Emergency Aid Corridor – Gwadar CMB Medical Aid Center was successfully completed in Gwadar. At present, the medical equipment and emergency vehicles required by the emergency center have arrived in Gwadar and have completed the installation and commissioning of equipment. At the same time, 12 members of the Chinese Red Cross Aid Volunteer Medical Team have been stationed in Gwadar for a two-year medical service.
In November 2017, the first multi-element automatic meteorological station of the China-Palestine Economic Corridor built by the Karamay Municipality of Xinjiang was built and put into use. The weather station will not only provide real-time meteorological services for the Gwadar port area, but also lay the foundation for the future development of all-round meteorological services such as shipping, aviation, and the environment. In the month, the launch ceremony of the Guadalpur East Bay Expressway was successfully held. The project will help to facilitate the port cargo transportation, enhance the connectivity between the port and other regions, and improve the import and export logistics capabilities.
Nassim Ahmed is an ordinary employee of China’s Hong Kong Control Co., Ltd. He studied at Henan University of Technology with the support of China Peace Development Foundation and China’s Hong Kong Control. “The Chinese builders have brought about earth-shaking changes in my hometown. Harbor districts, free zones, schools and urban areas are full of vitality. We truly feel the friendship of the Chinese people.” (Reporter Xu Wei)