Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif was on hand yesterday to inaugurate a trade route linking southwestern Gwadar port to the Chinese city of Kashgar.
The 4,253 teu Cosco Wellington berthed at the port and took on more than 150 containers, the first shipments under the $46bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor announced in 2014.
The port, which originally was a PSA International concession, has been taken over by a state-run Chinese firm. As well as rail links from Gwadar to western China, pipeline infrastructure is being built so that China can import Middle Eastern crude without transiting Southeast Asia and the Malacca Straits.
“Pakistan is located at the intersection of three engines of growth in Asia – South Asia, China and Central Asia,” Sharif said yesterday.
Gwadar was originally part of Oman, but Pakistan bought it in 1958 and has had long held aspirations to develop it as a large South Asian port.