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Development of Gwadar Free Zone
Special Report on CPEC Projects (Transportation Infrastructure: Part 4)

1. Brief introduction

According to the concession agreement signed among China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC), Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) and Singapore Port Authority in 2013, the development and operation of Gwadar free zone was handed over to COPHC. Gwadar free zone is located in the northern part of Gwadar, about 7km away from the existing port. The planned development period is from 2015 to 2030, and is divided into four phases. The free zone includes the northern area (898 hectares) and the initial area (25 hectares), totally 923 hectares.

Free zone development plan is of the overall thinking of commerce and trade in advance. It integrates free zone and port to strengthen the linkage of industries between China and Pakistan. The free zone is positioned as economic development engine of Gwadar, the international trade logistics center under CPEC.

The initial area of free zone (25 hectares) is located in the west of the existing port. Its main development orientation is to play a pilot role by setting up industries, and to provide cargo capacity for the port. The construction of initial area includes a few projects: infrastructure, business center, trade exhibition hall, cold storage, warehouse, and fishery processing center, etc.

2. Latest progress

1) Infrastructure

Field leveling and foundation treatment are under way. The design of building, structure, water supply and drainage, electrical, control, high-voltage alternating current (HVAC), foundation treatment and traffic engineering have already been completed.

The temporary office site occupies 51868m² and there are 40 offices and 167 dormitories. The working & living area covers 35618m², the production area occupies 12475m² and the local staff living area is 3775m².

Half of the infrastructure construction has been done, and it will be completed by the end of 2017.

2) Business center

The preliminary design is under review by the experts , and the contractor team has arrived and is doing preparatory work; the project is expected to be completed by December 31, 2017.

3) Linyi trade exhibition hall

The contractor team has entered the site and started the preparatory work.

4) Fishery processing center

Karamay Yufei Commerce and Trading Company is carrying out the design. It was inaugurated in May 2017, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, and go into operation at the beginning of 2018.

5) Hebei Bishu Group stainless steel plant

The enterprise is carrying out preliminary planning, design, environmental assessment, and survey, etc.

6) MID-TRANS company edible oil squeezing project

Preliminary design is currently under way.

7) Free zone investment and entrance registration

More than a dozen companies have submitted applications to free zone company, including: CCCC, Hebei Bishi Group, Shandong Linyi Overseas Investment Company, Pakistan HBL Bank, Pakistan UBL Bank, Wuhan Dongchuan Water Technology Company, Henan Yulin Co., Ltd., Changjiang Shipping Co., Ltd. and CHUWA BUSSAN Co., Ltd. Up to now, totally 12 enterprises have signed MOU, 4 companies have got the business licenses officially.

3. Corporate social responsibility

1) Now, there are 497 employees in free zone project, 274 of them are local, and there are 130 employees at port, most of them are local. During the project construction, about 2000 indirect jobs for the local people have been created. When the project has been completed, the business center, exhibition hall, warehousing logistics, fishing products processing and other industries will create more job opportunities for local people.

2) In December 2016, the Chinese Red Cross Foundation decided to donate a 500m² CPEC emergency medical center in Gwadar. Chen Zhu, Vice Chairman of National People’s Congress and President of the Red Cross Society of China, and Mir Hasil Bizenjo, Minister of Port and Shippers attended the completion ceremony in May 2017. COPHC helped to finalize the land for the center and build accommodation facilities for its staff.

3) In August 2016, COPHC recommended 6 outstanding young people to study in China, and set up 1 million rupees COPHC scholarship and funded two local youth to study Chinese in China. In future the youth will return to Gwadar into local education.

4) On 1 September 2016, the Faqeer School was completed and put into use, and the local residents call it “Chinese school”. Since the completion of the school, COPHC has donated books, bags, stationery, and 380 school uniforms for the students.

5) As there is an acute water shortage in Gwadar, COPHC is providing fresh water regularly to the local residents free of cost. COPHC will try its best to make sure that the local people can also share the fruits of development.

6) COPHC donated 3 school buses for local students in Gwadar.

(Xu Yao, Infrastructure Dept. Manager, Gwadar Free Zone Company Ltd.)

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