Thursday, October 7, 2021

Is CPEC Development Focus Shifting From Gwadar to Karachi?

China has agreed to invest $3.5 billion in Karachi, according to Pakistani and Chinese officials. In a separate announcement earlier, Saudi Arabia said it is moving its planned $10 billion petrochemical complex from Gwadar to Karachi.  These announcements have triggered speculation that the focus of development of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is moving from Gwadar to Karachi. 

Karachi Port, Pakistan

The Karachi project dubbed "Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone project" or KCCDZ    includes additional new berths to Karachi port, development of a new fisheries port and a 640-hectare special economic zone near the port. The project also envisages building a harbor bridge connecting the port with the nearby Manora islands, according to Nikkei Asia

Gwadar Port City

Saudi decision to shift the $10 billion petrochemical plant from Gwadar to Karachi was triggered by the fact that there is no oil pipeline nor a rail line planned to support it at Gwadar. Karachi already has well-developed roads, rails, telecommunications and pipeline infrastructure for connectivity with the rest of the country. 

Map of Submarine Cable Connections to Karachi, Pakistan. Source: TeleGeography

There are 10  submarine cables currently connecting or planned to connect Pakistan with the world: TransWorld1, Africa1 (2023), 2Africa (2023), AAE1, PEACE,  SeaMeWe3, SeaMeWe4, SeaMeWe5, SeaMeWe6 (2025) and IMEWE. PEACE cable has two landing stations in Pakistan: Karachi and Gwadar. SeaMeWe stands for Southeast Asia Middle East Western Europe, while IMEWE is India Middle East Western Europe and AAE1 Asia Africa Europe 1. PEACE cable is the latest. It is a privately owned submarine cable that originates in Karachi, Pakistan and runs underwater all the way to Marseilles, France via multiple points in the continent of Africa. 

Gwadar East Bay Expressway, Pakistan

China already has a lot invested in Gwadar.  Krzysztof Iwanek, head of the Asia Research Center at Warsaw's War Studies University, told Nikkei that the challenges of developing a major port in an underdeveloped area like Gwadar must have been factored in by China from the outset. "[I]t may be assumed that Chinese involvement in Gwadar may be at least partially strategic. Karachi, in turn, is Pakistan's most important port, and, hence, Chinese involvement there may be of purely economic nature," Iwanek said.

My own view is that Gwadar remains very important to China for strategic reasons. Gwadar sits very close to the strategic Strait of Hormuz that is used by tankers carrying the bulk of China's and the world's energy imports.  Karachi is the fastest and most economical route to making CPEC operational but it does not diminish the long-term importance of Gwadar for China. 

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistanis Happier Than Neighbors

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's Vision

Karachi Safety Ranking Rising

Gangs of Karachi

Gangster Politicians of Karachi

Karachi is World's Fastest Growing Megacity

Karachi's Human Development Index

Pakistan Rising or Failing: Reality vs Perception

Pakistan's Trillion Dollar Economy Among top 25

CPEC Myths and Facts

Gwadar Port

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network

29 comments:

Shams N. said...

Fat chance. China will likely sink with Punjabistan, and it knows that. Hence Chinese $400 Billion hedge in Iran and the Chabahar seaport.

Riaz Haq said...

Shams: "Hence Chinese $400 Billion hedge in Iran and the Chabahar seaport"

China's $400 billion investment in Iran is a myth.

https://thediplomat.com/2021/04/china-iran-relations-the-myth-of-massive-investment/

 First off, nowhere in the text of this or any other official document or pronouncement is any numerical figure mentioned. There are also no provisions whatsoever for the sale of islands, military bases, occupation, or anything that would sustain the other alarmist claims. This has been thoroughly debunked by multiple scholars, and a quick glance at the text will confirm their claims. While the draft itself appears to be genuine, the claims of $400 billion of Chinese investment and massive military concessions can be traced to a poorly sourced Petroleum Economy article from 2019, which has since been taken offline.
Get briefed on the story of the week, and developing stories to watch across the Asia-Pacific.Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the day after that the China-Iran Strategic Comprehensive Agreement “neither includes any quantitative, specific contracts and goals nor targets any third party, and will provide a general framework for China-Iran cooperation going forward.”

Ahmed said...


Dear Sir Riaz

Karachi is already mashallah developed and it is a commercial center of Pakistan. All I think we need to focus is on the improvement and uplifting of the departments and sectors of Karachi which are performing poorly.

If all these development projects of CPEC will be shifted to Karachi toh phir ap sochey Allah na karey wohi masla start hosakta hai Balochistan ka jo pehlay start hoa thah.

Pls try to understand this

Regards,

Z Basha said...

This is double bonanza with both Gwadar and Karachi included in CPEC. China already runs the stock market and power plants in Karachi. With this good news Pakistan should not rest of laurels and try attracting China to other cities as well.

Riaz Haq said...

Z: "China already runs the stock market and power plants in Karachi."

China has invested in the Karachi stock market or the Port Qasim power plant. China does not run these. Both are operated by Pakistanis.

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmed: "If all these development projects of CPEC will be shifted to Karachi toh phir ap sochey Allah na karey wohi masla start hosakta hai Balochistan ka jo pehlay start hoa thah."


NO, not all projects are being shifted from Gwadar to Karachi. Major infrastructure projects are underway...examples: major new $256 million international airport, $168 million East Bay Expressway and a large Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

A new $10 million China Pakistan Technical Institute has just been completed in Gwadar.

Z Basha said...

It is not necessarily a bad thing that China runs stock exchange. We can learn a few things from them.

https://www.psx.com.pk/psx/exchange/profile/board-of-directors
4-shareholder directors from China and 3-from Pakistan. This is the future we must get used to.

Independent directors are just honorary and insiders know who is pulling the strings. CEO is a paid position and will keep the owners interest protected.

Riaz Haq said...

Thar Energy’s 330MW Thar Coal-based project nears completion under CPEC
The plant will supply electricity to the national grid

https://www.samaa.tv/news/pakistan/2021/10/thar-energys-330mw-thar-coal-based-project-nears-completion-under-cpec/

In Sindh, the 330-megawatt Thar Energy Limited Power Project Block-II is being completed under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC.

According to an official, the power plant would supply electricity to the national grid under a 30-year power purchase agreement.

According to APP news agency, the power plant is a 330MW mine-mouth lignite-fired power project being built by Thar Energy, which is owned by the Hub Power Company or Hubco, China Machinery Engineering Corporation or CMEC and Fauji Fertilizer Company or FFC.

Similarly, two more coal-fired power plants, Engro Thar Block II power plant and Thal Nova, are also being developed in Thar Block II.

Engro’s Thar Block II power plant is a coal-fired power station in Sindh’s Tharparkar district. It was Pakistan’s first power plant to use the indigenous coal reserves of Thar.

The 660MW power plant, which was part of CPEC, was developed by Engro Powergen Thar or EPTL, a joint venture of Engro Powergen or EPL, CMEC, Habib Bank, and Liberty Mills. Construction on the Engro Thar Block II power plant commenced in April 2016. Trial operations at the plant began in July 2018 while commercial operations began in July 2019.

The coal-fired power plant is located five kilometres away from Thar Block II near Thar coalfields. It consists of two 330MW units, which integrated circulating fluidised bed or CFB boilers, tandem compound steam turbine units, and generators. CFB is an ideal option for the low-calorific-value Thar lignite coal.

It helped to regulate the plant’s environmental footprint by reducing nitrogen oxide emissions and capturing sulphur oxides. The 20kV, 50Hz, three-phase intercooled generators featured a hydrogen-cooled rotor and stator core, as well as water-cooled rotor windings.

The power plant is also equipped with associated equipment and systems such as cyclones, air pre-heaters, and water walls. Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company or SECMC supplied nearly 3.8 million tons per annum of coal for the coal-fired power plant from a new opencast mine.

The SECMC is a joint venture by the government of Sindh and Engro Powergen. The joint venture was formed for extracting coal available at the seventh biggest coal mine site in the Thar Desert.

The new coal-fired power plant fed electricity to a 500kV double-circuit transmission line of the grid network between Thar and the Hesco grid station in Jamshoro. The estimated cost of the Engro Thar power plant was $995.4 million – funded by a syndicate led by China Development Bank with the support from China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation.

The syndicate included Habib Bank, United Bank, Bank Alfalah, National Bank Pakistan, Faysal Bank, Construction Bank of China, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

ThalNova is a similar 330MW power plant being developed in the same block. The financial closing for the power plant was achieved in September 2020 and the commercial operations are scheduled to begin in 2022.

samir sardana said...

Coal prices have increased by 300% in 6 months and will rise more !

In this time, Pakistan has Thar !

The entire US/EU supply chain is busted !

CPEC is about to be commissioned !

Pakistan has Coal AND Lignite ! dindooohindoo

And then there is Reko Copper - when Copper and Alumunium smelters,will close down !

Is it magic or is Allah sending a message to the Pakistanis ?

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan minister Ali Zaidi denies #Chinese economic corridor (#cpec) projects shifting from #Gwadar to #Karachi amid worsening security. “Rather, the corridor project is moving into Karachi in addition to Gwadar and is expanding its framework”
https://www.arabnews.com/node/1947621/world

A top Pakistani official has said that a proposed $3.5 billion coastal development project in the port city of Karachi is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, denying that the focus of the multibillion-dollar project was being shifted from Gwadar to Karachi.

Gwadar, in the southwestern province of Balochistan, is the crown jewel of China’s more than $60 billion CPEC investment in Belt and Road Initiative projects in Pakistan. The plan was to turn Gwadar into a trans-shipment hub and megaport to be built alongside special economic zones from which export-focused industries would ship goods worldwide. A web of energy pipelines, roads and rail links would connect Gwadar to China’s western regions.

However, growing insecurity and a rise in attacks by militants in Balochistan has rattled China, which has publicly demanded that Pakistan improve security for Chinese workers. Nine Chinese were killed this year in northwest Pakistan in an attack on a bus carrying them to a construction site. In a separate attack, a convoy of Chinese officials was targeted by a suicide bomber in Gwadar.

Thus, the announcement last month by Pakistan and China to include the Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone in the CPEC framework unleashed frantic speculation that the corridor project was being moved from the deep-sea port in the volatile Balochistan province.

“CPEC is not moving from Gwadar to Karachi,” Syed Ali Zaidi, the country’s maritime minister, told Arab News in an exclusive interview on Monday. “Rather, the corridor project is moving into Karachi in addition to Gwadar and is expanding its framework, which is great for us.”

“It (CPEC) is going to develop a whole new district in Karachi, which is going to be a state-of-the-art district equipped with technology and all modern infrastructure,” he said.


Elaborating on the financing plan for the project, he said that the $3.5 billion Chinese investment was not a loan or a grant, but the project was a partnership between a Chinese state-owned enterprise and the Karachi Port Trust, which owned the land.

“$3.5 billion will be invested to develop infrastructure where the KPT and (the Chinese) investor both will make money,” Zaidi said. “Instead of a loan or a grant, we have decided to do a win-win project, which means that people who are investing will also make some returns.”

The maritime minister said that the project would add four more berths to the targeted coastal area, providing greater depth to Pakistan’s expanding maritime sector and creating space for cruise ships to dock.

“We will build four berths maybe for cruise ships, and if we build for cruise ships there may be some hotels around it and this all has to be backed by real estate development,” he said. “But the real estate development is not the primary objective; the primary objective (is) to fix our marine environment and, on the top of it, build state-of-the-art modern infrastructure.”

A state-of-the-art fishing port would also be built, Zaidi said, along with a world-class fisheries export processing zone.

“A water treatment plant at the mouth of Lyari River would be built to improve marine ecosystem and reduce pollution in the Arabian Sea,” the minister said.

Zaidi said that the coastal development plan would also benefit the poor slum of Machar Colony in the area, mostly inhabited by the Bengali and Burmese communities: “We have decided to make 20,000 to 25,000 apartments in accordance with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision to promote low-cost housing to give respectable living (conditions) to our people.”

Riaz Haq said...

Karachi coastal project under CPEC to boost economy: officials - Pakistan Today



https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/11/15/karachi-coastal-project-under-cpec-to-boost-economy-officials/


ISLAMABAD: The recent inclusion of the Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone (KCCDZ) project in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will boost Pakistan’s economy and enhance industrial and development cooperation between Pakistan and China, said experts and officials.

The decision to include the project in Karachi into the CPEC was made at the CPEC’s recent 10th Joint Cooperation Committee Meeting.

Covering a total area of about 930 hectares, of which 640 hectares are reclaimed, the environment-friendly KCCDZ envisages four new berths for the Karachi Port Trust (KPT), according to a statement from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs of Pakistan.

The mega project, being built with an expected investment of $3.5 billion, will also house a state-of-the-art fishing port, with a world-class fisheries export processing zone to boost the country’s trade potential, said the ministry.

It will also drastically improve the marine ecosystem and reduce pollution with the establishment of a water treatment plant, the ministry said.

Terming the project a game-changer for Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan recently said the coastal development project will bring Karachi on a par with developed port cities of the world.

The project will present opportunities for investors, he said on Twitter, adding that it will also help clean up marine habitats for fishermen and develop 20,000 low-income housing units.

The KCCDZ is the first of its kind under the CPEC, which reflects the commitment of Pakistan and China to forge high-quality cooperation to improve people’s livelihoods, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi told Xinhua.

“As all-weather strategic cooperative partners, China and Pakistan are stepping up cooperation in various sectors, giving impetus to the growth of bilateral relations, economic and social development of the two countries,” the minister said.

Speaking to Xinhua, Syed Hasan Javed, director of Chinese Studies, School of Social Sciences and Humanities at the National University of Science and Technology in Islamabad, said the KCCDZ is a 21st-century modern project replete with the latest technologies, town planning, urban infrastructure, municipal amenities and environment-friendly marine development.

“It will take Pakistan’s economy to the next level of prosperity by attracting foreign direct investment, generating employment and revenue, boosting exports and promoting regional and global connectivity,” Javed said.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan to Boost Shipping Fleet to Tackle Global Logistics Crisis. #Pakistan has over 1,000 Km coastline & 3 major ports, including #Karachi. It's close to #Africa, #MiddleEast, #Arab Gulf oil. Pak NSC has a fleet of 11 ships, wants to buy another 4 ships https://www.maritimeprofessional.com/news/pakistan-boost-shipping-fleet-tackle-372781#.YblE9cqdd3M.twitter


https://www.maritimeprofessional.com/news/pakistan-boost-shipping-fleet-tackle-372781

Pakistan is working to boost the capacity of its shipping fleet to draw on its strategic geographical position and help tackle the effects of a global supply chain crisis, the country’s maritime minister told Reuters.

Pakistan has a coastline of over 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) and three major ports, including Karachi. It is two days sailing time from destinations in Africa and the Middle East and its western shoreline is close to the Strait of Hormuz oil chokepoint.

A surge in demand for retail goods from people stuck at home under pandemic-related lockdowns and logjams impacting the supply of container ships and boxes to transport cargo have led to bottlenecks around the globe, which are set to continue into 2022.

Pakistan's Federal Minister of Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi said the country is in negotiations "through a public private mechanism to create joint ventures to expand into container shipping".

"The supply chain problems are faced by everyone and Pakistan is also affected. There are issues everywhere and this is one of the ways we are trying to deal with this longer term," he said on a visit to London.

The state-controlled Pakistan National Shipping Corporation has a fleet of 11 ships including oil tankers and dry bulkers and has issued a tender for another four ships, Zaidi said.

Pakistan would initially charter space on container ships "and test the market before we start discussion on how many (container ships) we acquire," he added.

Pakistan was also seeking to develop as a port hub for landlocked central Asian countries, Zaidi said, and that it was vital critical supplies reached neighboring Afghanistan after the Taliban's victory in August.

"The world and the financial superpowers cannot and should not abandon Afghanistan. If they do, it will be a catastrophic humanitarian (crisis)," he said. "It is our moral obligation to help them."

U.N. agency UNCTAD said in November smaller countries are expected to feel the most impact from the higher costs of importing goods.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's Gwadar Port Protests Should Be a Wake-Up Call for Islamabad

by Arif Rafiq

https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/12/14/pakistan-gwadar-port-protests-china-belt-and-road-cpec/


Rather than transforming this isolated Pakistani city, China’s Belt and Road Initiative has only created great expectations and even greater disappointment. Ultimately, the responsibility for this failure lies on the Pakistani state, which adopted a fundamentally flawed strategy ill-suited for Gwadar, built on a series of assumptions that have been proven to be incorrect.

For starters, Pakistan assumed that Gwadar was absolutely vital to Chinese interests, especially in helping Beijing overcome its reliance on energy imported via the Malacca Strait. But as a 2020 U.S. Naval War College study makes clear, Chinese analysts generally see a Pakistan-based overland energy pipeline to Xinjiang as economically unviable. And there is even some pushback in China’s strategic community on whether it really faces a “Malacca dilemma.”

These perspectives rarely make it into Pakistan’s domestic discourse on China. One reason for this is that Pakistan lacks independent China experts, despite its close strategic partnership with China. Most Pakistani commentators—some of whom are paid by Beijing—stick to the official script. It’s no wonder Pakistani officials are then left blindsided when Beijing’s policy priorities and risk appetite shift.

A second reason: Pakistan—like Djibouti, Kenya, and Sri Lanka—assumed that China’s Shenzhen or Shekou model is not only replicable but also plug and play. This discounts the fundamentally different natures of the Chinese and Pakistani states. China is an authoritarian, hierarchical, developmental state. Pakistan is a semi-democratic, disaggregated rentier state marred by criminality and incompetence from the top down.

The Pakistani state simply lacks the will to create value in the global economy. It is largely focused on extracting from its populace and foreign donors. And it dithers on any sort of policy reform. In the case of Gwadar, it took years for Islamabad to simply pass into law tax exemptions for the port and free zone that are key to attracting foreign direct investment there.

Third, Pakistan’s trickle-down strategy for Gwadar is inappropriate for Balochistan. To begin with, there’s been little economic growth in Gwadar to actually trickle down to locals. And the province, which is Pakistan’s poorest but also home to its oldest and largest natural gas field, has been hit by multiple secessionist insurgencies since Pakistan’s founding, driven in part by resource nationalism. Separatist terrorist groups have also targeted Pakistani nationals from other provinces, including teachers, deemed as “settlers.”

But insensitive claims of an imminent influx of Chinese nationals, including by a luxury real estate developer in 2017, intensified Baloch fears they would be displaced by outside capital and labor in Gwadar. Those specific fears may be unfounded. But instead of an influx of foreign residents, Gwadar is seeing a surge in fishing trawlers from the neighboring Sindh province and China, whose massive hauls are destroying local incomes.

The original plan for Gwadar under CPEC did contain some admirable social sector projects. For example, China has funded the expansion of a middle school and established an emergency medical center in Gwadar. But these are just drops in the bucket for an area with a population close to 100,000 in 2017. Major projects—including a vocational training center, medical hospital, and desalination plant—have either been delayed, scaled down, or dropped. Given Balochistan’s fraught history with Pakistan’s central government, Islamabad should have front-loaded projects that would have provided basic services, especially clean water.


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's Gwadar Port Protests Should Be a Wake-Up Call for Islamabad

by Arif Rafiq

https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/12/14/pakistan-gwadar-port-protests-china-belt-and-road-cpec/

Fourth, Islamabad structured its plans for Gwadar based on an incorrect assessment of the city’s natural advantages. It has envisioned Gwadar as a “gateway port” serving the hinterland of Pakistan, Afghanistan, other countries in Central Asia, and Xinjiang. But given its isolated location, Gwadar stacks up poorly in terms of cost and efficiency when compared to regional competitors, including Pakistan’s own Karachi and Qasim ports.

The Gwadar port, however, can be dredged to a depth of 20 meters, making it a potentially viable location for transshipment—allowing very large, cost-efficient vessels to offload cargo to be loaded on to smaller ships servicing shallower regional ports. Indeed, the consulting firm that developed the original master plan for the port assessed that transit trade with the Central Asian republics via Gwadar had “little potential” but that there were decent prospects in the longer term for transshipment.

Finally, Pakistan’s top-down political model in Gwadar doesn’t work. Protests in 2018 by fishermen against an expressway that cut off their access to the sea made clear that locals were afterthoughts in the design of key infrastructure projects. Gwadar’s fishermen once again taking to the streets indicates a failure of the political process to address their needs. They simply do not trust the government.



Last week, in a Twitter Spaces discussion, Balochistan Provincial Minister Zahoor Buledi noted that he had held five or six meetings with protest leader Maulana Hidayat ur Rehman Baloch of the Jamaat-e-Islami party. But the maulana (an honorific given to Islamic clerics) and other participants in the session felt promises made to them would not be fulfilled once the protests stopped and media cameras went away and suggested that some corrupt officials were acting in connivance with various “mafias.”

The reflex of the Pakistani state—particularly in Balochistan, where enforced disappearances by security forces are rampant—is to respond to large-scale protests and unrest with intimidation and, sometimes, violent coercion. Given New Delhi’s hand in the Baloch insurgency, which has conducted high-profile attacks in Gwadar in recent years, the opportunistic, heavy coverage of the protests by state-aligned “private” Indian news outlets also triggers the anxieties of the Pakistani security services. But these protests are simply an organic reaction by Gwadar’s people to the endangerment of their livelihoods and the failure of their own state to respond to their basic needs.

The cries of Gwadar protestors should serve as a wake-up call for Islamabad. While terrorist attacks, including a 2019 assault on Gwadar’s only major hotel, serve to deter foreign investment, a heavy security crackdown will only further alienate locals and compound the problem. Islamabad needs to break out of the cycle of violence by developing a new strategy to win the peace in Balochistan.

That strategy should include several specific elements. For one, Islamabad and the Balochistan provincial government need to develop a political framework to include locals in the developmental design process, city governance, and security services. They should also fast-track large-scale desalination projects to better address local water demand. The current water strategy centers on dams—an unreliable source of water for an area hit by drought.

To counter Baloch fears of resource plundering, CPEC needs a strong redistributive policy for southern Balochistan. Islamabad and the provincial Balochistan government in Quetta city should create a wealth fund for natives of Gwadar and the Makran coastal region, providing them with an annual basic income sourced from royalties on energy and mining industries and taxes on luxury real estate and tourism.


Riaz Haq said...

#Gwadar Update from #China COPHC Chairman Zhang Baozhong: “Gwadar will become the logistics hub in this region within 5 years” Gwadar Free Zone Manager Dadaullah Yousuf said 46 enterprises have so far been registered for #investment in the free zone. #CPEC https://tribune.com.pk/story/2336706/gwadar-heads-to-a-promising-2022


“I will grow up to become a doctor. I want to travel around the world and show them what we are capable of,” declared Habiba Qadir, a student of China-Pakistan Gwadar Faqeer Middle School, in an interview with the China Economic Net.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) reached an important milestone on November 13, 2016 with the first shipment of trade cargo from Gwadar Port to international destinations.

Five years on, Gwadar Port has entered 2022 with hope, determination and achievement.

“For those who have visited it before, they do realise that there has been a lot of development here,” Gwadar Port Authority Chairman Naseer Khan Kashani pointed out while reviewing the five-year journey of Gwadar Port.

Reaching to a bigger world

Gwadar has made huge progress when it comes to port operation and port economy.

“According to our plan, Gwadar will become the logistics hub in this region within five years,” China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) Chairman Zhang Baozhong said confidently.

There had been no single commercial shipping line connecting Gwadar Port for the past 10 years, and the port merely relied on government-diverted cargo with huge subsidised road transport, noted Baozhong.

But things have changed since COPHC took over the port and infrastructure improved, especially when Afghan transit cargo started going through Gwadar Port on January 14, 2020.

In spite of the negative Covid-19 pandemic impact on business development, more than 100,000 tonnes of Afghan cargo have been handled at the port.

“LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) ships and bulk cargo vessels can be seen coming frequently,” he underlined.

All these activities not only generated a lot of business opportunities for Pakistani stevedoring companies, transporters, customer clearance and many others, but also helped stabilise supply to Afghanistan and other landlocked countries in Central Asia.

Talking about Gwadar Free Zone, the first modern industrial park in Pakistan, Gwadar Free Zone Manager Dadaullah Yousuf said that until now 46 enterprises have been registered for investment in the free zone, mainly covering logistics, warehousing, halal food processing, agriculture, textile, etc.

Right now, Gwadar Free Zone phase-1 has been successfully completed, while work on the much larger phase-2, covering an area of 2,221 acres, has been started.

“More and more investors are showing keen interest in investing here,” Baozhong said.

Development benefits local community

The development of the economy relies a lot on people, and it also empowers people to lead a better life. Education, first of all, is the foundation.

China-Pakistan Gwadar Faqeer Middle School, donated by China Foundation for Peace and Development, has been in operation for five years with the sponsorship of COPHC.

Now, this school is one of the best in Gwadar. More than 700 boys and girls are attending the school to receive education.

Naseem Ahmad, descendant of land donator and teacher at China-Pakistan Gwadar Faqeer Middle School, told the China Economic Net that after the school had been made, the locals got more development programmes, and real estate and businesses have increased.

“We can say that this school has contributed as an integral part of our area.”

Port boosting local employment

“Almost 80% of our workers are locals,” Muhammad Saleem Butt, Head of Gwadar Port Operations GITL, told the China Economic Net.

“Actually almost 90% of our local staff was only capable of, maybe, the watchman job when they first came here,” noted Zing, Office Manager of China Business Centre in Gwadar, adding that there were not too many schools nor technical agencies in the city.

Riaz Haq said...

With 80 buses, Karachi's Green Line becomes fully operational

https://www.dawn.com/news/1668824


A new and unknown world of mass transit opened up for Karachiites as the Green Line bus service became fully operational on Mon­day. As many as 80 buses could be spotted moving towards Surjani Town from Numaish and the other way around from 7am till 10pm.

Venturing inside the entrance, you find yourself heading downstairs to a two-level basement. The first level had the ticketing area.

For now one can get tickets in two ways one of which is going to the ticketing booth and pay Rs55 for a ticket for whether you are travelling to the station ahead or to all 22 stations. But another better and economical way is to buy a Rs100 card which can be topped up. As you reach a station to get off, the machines there will deduct your fare as per kilometre of your travelling.

Later, there will be more options for buying tickets.


“You will also have the option of buying tickets through vending machines, which we will be made functional in a week or so. And within two to three months there will also be point of sale or POS machines attached to the vending machines as these can charge you through your credit or debit cards,” Abdul Aziz, the senior manager (bus operation and intelligence transport system) of the Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (SIDCL), explained to Dawn.

He said that they had tried to replicate UK’s bus system here.

Telling more about the vending machines at the bus stations here, he said that they are state-of-the-art machines bought from Turkey, which can also accept currency notes.

“The vending machines, when fully operational, will issue tickets as well as top-up cards, which will help lessen human interaction in a Covid environment. Still, the less tech savvy can go to the ticketing booth,” he said.

“There will also be another option of topping up your bus cards through your mobile app, which is also going to begin in a couple of months. Your card will carry a unique ID number that you can enter to top up through your credit or debit card, Easypaisa, etc, right from the comfort of your home,” he added.

Non-fare revenue
He also spoke about minimising government subsidy here. “For this we have worked on non-fare revenue, too. The government can earn from bus fares and from non-fare ways as well such as advertisements. For that we have kept digital marketing inside the buses as well as printed ads,” he said.

Meanwhile, going another level down, you can catch your bus, which stops at the station only for two to three minutes.

But that doesn’t mean that you need to hurry as there is no chance of you ever missing your bus. One bus leaves, and another comes in within three minutes of its leaving.

Getting on the bus from Numaish, which for now is an end as well as start of route station, you notice that there are not many people leaving from there and the buses are heading off quite empty.

“That’s because the pattern is such that most people come towards their business or work area in the morning. Most markets and offices happen to be in the Saddar area and so people are travelling this direction. The rush to the way back home will pick up in the afternoon,” Mr Aziz pointed out.

He also said that SIDCL has a central command and control centre in the Garden area. “Currently, we are doing an origin and destination survey also. In about one or two months we will have data about how many travellers are using our buses and travelling from where. After that we may even revise the bus timings,” he said.

He also shared that for park and ride, they will also be opening up parking spaces from Station 2, which is the KDA Flats station to Station 9, which is the U.P. Morr Station.

“That was you can come, park your vehicle and get on the bus. This is also known as ‘last mile connectivity’,” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

#Karachi Green Line Ridership Stats For First 3 Days! Total 81,000 passengers!! 20,000 travelled on the very first day, followed by 29,000 on next and 32,000 on the third day. #greenlineforkarachi #Pakistan

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1482428201510989829?s=20

The Green Line Bus service has become fully operational, 80 buses could be spotted moving around from 7am till 10pm.

The service was fully started recently. Inside the entrance, one will have to head downstairs to a two level basement and will find the ticketing area on a first level. Moreover, one can buy tickets in two ways one of which is going to the ticketing booth and pay Rs 55 for a ticket for whether you are travelling to the station ahead or to all 22 stations.

However, another better and economical way is to buy a Rs 100 card which can be topped up. As you reach a station to get off, the machines there will deduct your fare as per kilometre of your travelling.

During the first three days of the service going fully operational, a total of 81,000 passengers benefited from the service. 20,000 travelled on the very first day, followed by 29,0

Riaz Haq said...

#Freight #train service launched to link #Karachi container terminal with rest of #Pakistan. A 3.7km, high-tech train track laid at the Hutchison Ports Pakistan connecting the facility to the rest of the country. #Railway - DAWN.COM
https://www.dawn.com/news/1671360


Several terminals for freight service planned: Swati
• Says Railways will become profitable within six months

KARACHI: The huge and powerful dark green locomotive attached to a long line of big and small freight containers awaited the inauguration ceremony to be off on its way at the Hutchison Ports Pakistan, also known as the South Asia Pakistan Terminal, on Monday.

Then as soon as the ribbon was cut, it honked loudly while making the slouching guests sit up straight in their chairs as it chugged away on its new ballastless tracks. Expected to take away the traffic congestion caused by container trucks on roads and highways here, this freight train will reach its destination, Lahore, in up to four days.

The freight train service also coincides with the commissioning of a 3.7km, high-tech train track laid at the Hutchison Ports Pakistan connecting the facility to the rest of the country in a seamless manner through Pakistan Railway’s extensive network spread throughout the country.


This new track laid within the terminal comprised three rail sidings of 700 metres each alongside a crippled wagon sliding. The tracks are embedded in concrete and are ballastless, which is a better, albeit a more expensive option than the traditional sleeper/ballast design used in Pakistan. Switching between the tracks and signalling is carried out using a computer-based interlocking system, eliminating the need for manual switching. As many as three freight trains can be handled simultaneously using rubber-tyred gantry cranes with a quick turnaround. Another track can also be added.

Captain Syed Rashid Jamil, general manager and head of business unit at Hutchison Ports Pakistan, said that with the commencement of the freight train service, they were expanding their contribution towards Pakistan’s trade. “We are extending our physical gates to somewhere in Multan, Sialkot and Lahore as the containers will be discharged from the ships and put on a train that will deliver them to the customers at their factory gates,” he said.

----

“Karachi needs to be an international standard business hub. Pakistan’s entire business, its industry, its trade all come from here. It only needs good governance to transform this city and this country,” he said.

The federal minister announced they needed to work at connecting Port Qasim Authority with this freight train service too. “We should also be transporting coal and oil via railway,” he said.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail said port cities across the world were responsible for their country’s prosperity and Karachi was a port city.

Earlier, Pakistan had its flag-carrier PIA, Railways and Pakistan Steel Mills to be proud of, the governor said, “but now PIA is running losses, the Pakistan Railways is running losses and the Steel Mills happen to be a burden on the exchequer. It is so because our country fell in the wrong hands”.

“But now we have people like Railways Minister Swati and Minister for Maritime Affairs like Ali Zaidi, who are powerful pillars. They are doers. [PM] Imran Khan has chosen the best people in his cabinet. We were labelled as incompetent in our first year of governance but we kept working with the uplift of economy as our main focus despite the Covid-19 pandemic and now Imran Khan is the first prime minister in years to have completed the longest term in office,” he said.

PSO, Railways ink MoU
In a related development, Pakistan State Oil (PSO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pakistan Railways for the supply of POL products, transportation and other businesses.

Riaz Haq said...

Private funding model agreed for #Karachi Circular #Railway. #KCR will serve 457,000 riders daily, rising to one million before the end of initial 33 year concession period. #Electric #trains will operate on the railway for 17 hours daily. #Pakistan https://www.railjournal.com/financial/private-funding-model-agreed-for-karachi-circular-railway/#.Yf13DOqluXQ.twitter

THE Pakistan federal government has approved a proposal for the construction and operation of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) using a public-private partnership (PPP) model.

Construction of the 43km double track line is expected to take around three years, and will cost Rs 220 billion ($US 2.92bn).

Mr Asad Umar, minister for planning, development and special initiatives chaired the PPP Authority Board meeting in Islamabad on January 25, where the proposals were reviewed.

Under the proposal, the private sector will finance the construction, civil works, electrical and mechanical works, as well as the operations and maintenance of the KCR.

The Pakistan government will provide capital viability gap funding in order to improve the financial viability of the project. This is expected to be around Rs 80-90bn which would be provided in the first three years of the concession being operational.

The PPP Authority Board also decided that the railway board would be requested to make 13 properties on the route available for lease for 99 years. This is designed to meet the initial financing since the profit will ultimately go to Pakistan Railways (PR).

The KCR is expected to serve 457,000 passengers per day when it opens, and this is expected to rise to one million by the end of the initial 33 year concession period. Electric trains will operate on the railway for 17 hours each day.

Asad said that KCR is an important part of the Karachi transformation plan and will play a pivotal role in providing an affordable and reliable public transport system.

Riaz Haq said...

#China, #Pakistan agree to enhance pragmatic ties in #agriculture, #economy and #trade, #finance and information #technology. Joint statement by #Chinese FM Wang Yi & Pak FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi in #Islamabad. #OICInPakistan #OIC #CPEC https://www.devdiscourse.com/article/international/1972202-china-pakistan-agree-to-enhance-pragmatic-ties-in-agriculture-economy-trade

During the meeting ahead of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Tuesday, Wang said that China is willing to work with Pakistan to further synergize their development strategies, conduct systematic exchanges on governance experience and improve long-term cooperation plans. Noting that the Pakistan-China relations are at their best in history, Qureshi described that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's recent visit to China was very successful, and the leaders of the two countries have reached a large number of important consensus, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The Pakistan-China friendship is the cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy, he said, adding that as all-weather strategic partners, Pakistan and China have stood together through thick and thin, helped and supported each other, as well as stood firmly together at critical moments. The Pakistani side stands ready to work with China to implement the consensus reached between the leaders of the two countries, and expand practical cooperation in various fields including agriculture, economy and trade, finance and information technology, Qureshi said while calling for increased investment from China to help push Pakistan's industrialization process, Chinese news agency said.

It further reported that Wang said that the Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership is unique and time-tested, and the two countries have become good neighbours, good friends, good partners and good brothers who trust each other. The traditional friendship between China and Pakistan is rock-solid, which is a precious treasure for both sides, he added. China hopes that Pakistan will get more deeply involved in China's new development landscape with a further convergence of interests, Wang said.

China is willing to expand imports from Pakistan and support Chinese enterprises in investing in Pakistan, so as to help Pakistan enhance its capacity of independent development. Qureshi welcomed Wang who had come over to attend the 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), saying that the first time participation by a Chinese foreign minister in the meeting is of historical significance, which shows China's support for Pakistan and that China attaches great importance to Islamic countries.

As an OIC founding member, Pakistan is willing to push the OIC to deepen its friendly ties with China, he said, according to Xinhua News Agency. Wang arrived in the Pakistani capital on Monday to attend the 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. (ANI)

Riaz Haq said...

In a bid to upgrade their economic ties, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are mulling a long-term investment strategy. The kingdom is encouraging major Saudi companies to expand their business internationally and offering government help and resources through the National Companies Promotion Program (NCPP) if they are not currently active abroad.

Read more: https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/04/saudi-arabia-pakistan-work-long-term-business-strategy#ixzz7PVFlPNsl

Meeting on the sidelines of the Tashkent International Investment Forum last week, the chairman of Pakistan’s Board of Investment (BOI) and minister of state, Azfar Ahsan, and the Saudi Minister for Investment, Khalid Al-Falih, discussed options for promoting bilateral investment.

According to the official statement issued by Pakistan’s investment board, “It was agreed that shovel-ready projects, including the expansion project of Pakistan Refinery, will be evaluated by the Saudi government.”

In 2019, the kingdom had announced plans for a $10 billion oil refinery at Gwadar port, but logistics issues hampered the project. A 600-km oil pipeline connecting Gwadar to the main oil hub, Karachi, would be needed to make the Saudi investment worthwhile, and — according to the feasibility report prepared by Aramco — the transportation of processed oil from Gwadar would be too expensive even then.

This time, Saudi Aramco will be kicking off “preferred projects” in Pakistan’s oil refinery sector, and the expansion of a decades-old refinery in Karachi is most likely. Next, Saudi investors will receive some exceptional incentives in special economic zones in Pakistan. According to the BOI chairman, several proactive measures have been taken to facilitate investment.

“Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are historically close allies," Mohammed Alhamed, president of the Saudi Elite Group, told Al-Monitor, "and Riyadh’s investment comes to make Pakistan’s economic development stable and strong.”

Agriculture, mining, renewable energy, food processing, refineries, petrochemicals and information technology have been identified as potential areas of investment. Proposing a joint BOI-NCPP team for finalizing projects in Pakistan, Falih also suggested that the Pakistani side visit the kingdom and market investment projects both from the public and private sectors.

Alhamed said, “The Saudi investments in Pakistan today are an example of a power, security and economic partnership which will lead to shared prosperity, regional stability and mutual respect based on long term-investment, strategic and social ties.”

Despite a gradual increase to around $2.181 billion in 2020, low bilateral trade volume still remains a major shortcoming in Saudi-Pakistan relations. However, nearly 2.5 million Pakistani expats live in the kingdom, which is still Islamabad’s largest source of remittances.

Without strong bilateral economic connections, the Saudi-Pakistan relationship is incomplete. Even though it was once described as “probably one of the closest relationships between any two countries” by the former head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki bin Faisal, it has been affected by regional issues in recent years.

Pakistan adopted a neutral stance in the Yemen war and refused to send any troops in response to the kingdom’s request in 2015, as it was trying to balance Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Then in August 2019, India abrogated Article 370 and ended the special status of the disputed part of Kashmir valley in its control. As one of the three claimants in the Kashmir issue, Pakistan felt that the cause was not highlighted by the Saudi-led Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), of which it is a founding member since 1969.

Next, in November 2019, Qatar, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Malaysia organized an Islamic summit in Kuala Lumpur without Saudi Arabia, which feared a rival bloc of Muslim countries outside the OIC, which it heads. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan had planned to attend the event but backed out at the last minute due to Riyadh’s insistence.

Riaz Haq said...

Gwadar airport to be operational by December
$246 million greenfield Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) being built at an area of 4,300 acres

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2360858/gwadar-airport-to-be-operational-by-december


QUETTA:
The test flight from new Gwadar International Airport would be started from December this year as the construction work on site has been expedited, an official of Gwadar Development Authority said on Thursday.

The new $246 million greenfield Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) being built at an area of 4,300 acres would be made operational before the deadline which was September 2023, the official said.

The government has also expanded the 50-bed Pak-China Friendship Hospital Gwadar to 150 beds state-of-the-art medical centre in order to ensure best health care facilities for the people of Gwadar.

The authority would ensure state-of-the-art free medical facility to the inhabitants of the port city of Gwadar from January next year, he said.

The officials were making all-out efforts to expedite the infrastructure and development projects for its timely completion.

The GDA said the authority has expedited the implementation of old town rehabilitation plan of Gawadar to provide best infrastructure and provide every facility to the masses of the port city. With the support of federal government, the project worth Rs3.3 billion for old town rehabilitation of Gwadar was in full swing to develop the city on modern lines to end the sense of deprivation among the people of the area, he addd.

The federal government would be funding 67 per cent of the total cost while Balochistan government would bear the remaining cost for the old town rehabilitation under the Gwadar development plan.

Under the plan, water drainage, supply and distribution of utility projects would be completed soon, besides ensuring the supply of clean drinking water to the dwellers.

The official said the water supply issue in Gwadar would be resolved in the short period of three months as desalination plant is also in progress to cater to the need of whole city.

The authorities have been directed to strictly adhere to Gwadar Master Plan while carrying out development and other public welfare projects in the city.

Riaz Haq said...

The 19.49-km expressway inaugurated on Friday is aimed to meet the urgent need of the locals and promote sustainable development in Pakistan's Gwadar.


https://english.news.cn/20220605/702d5b891f1147cdb95b088673ecf2f1/c.html



GWADAR, Pakistan, June 5 (Xinhua) -- The inauguration ceremony of the China-aided Eastbay Expressway of Gwadar port was held on Friday in Gwadar city of Pakistan's southwest Balochistan province.

As an important early harvest project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the 19.49-km expressway was officially started in 2017 by the China Communications Construction Company, with an aim to meet the urgent need of the locals in Gwadar and promote the sustainable development of the area.

Addressing the ceremony, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif thanked China for the grant and said that China has built a very high-quality expressway which links the port to the coastal highway ahead.

It will enhance connectivity and help the transportation of goods from the port all the way to the country's southern port city of Karachi in the future, said the prime minister.

"Pakistan is determined to speed up the development of Gwadar," Sharif said, adding that China has donated solar panels to thousands of families in Gwadar, aided the construction of a hospital and other livelihood infrastructures, and will fund a desalination plant.

On the same occasion, Pang Chunxue, charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy to Pakistan, said China attaches great importance to people's livelihood in Gwadar, and is willing to continue promoting the development of Gwadar's healthcare, education, vocational and technical personnel training and other livelihood fields.

Pang said the construction of the expressway aims to benefit the local people, and the concerns of local fishermen were fully considered in the design and construction.

China will strive to continue to help solve local people's problems such as shortage of electricity and fresh water, and promote the construction of a smart, green and modern Gwadar Port, so that local people can share the high-quality development of the CPEC, Pang said.

"It is our joint efforts that ensured the successful delivery of this CPEC project in Gwadar."

"When the New Gwadar International Airport is completed in the future, it will work with the Eastbay Expressway to promote Gwadar as a regional transportation hub and create a better life for the local people," Pang added. ■

Riaz Haq said...

New Gwadar International Airport is a Class 4F airport. It is only the second greenfield airport in Pakistan.

https://youtu.be/6VBF1uIkDx8

The airport's 4C, 4D, 4E, 4F... are the flight zone levels, which are represented by numbers + letters. The number indicates the length of the runway, and "4" indicates 1800 meters or more. The letters indicate the wingspan and wheelbase of the aircraft that can take off and land, from A to F, the larger it becomes.


------------------

Karachi Airport Certified for Aircraft Operation up to Aerodrome Reference Code 4E

---------------------------

Islamabad Airport has been certified for aircraft operation up to aerodrome reference code 4F that allows Airbus A380 flight operations.


The purpose of this AIRAC AIP Supplement is to notify the aviation industry of the aeronautical
ground facilities, navigational equipment and services that are available at Islamabad Int’l airport for
aerodrome reference code 4F Cargo / Commercial Operations. The airport is located at a distance of
14.08NM from Islamabad city.


https://caapakistan.com.pk/Upload/AIS/AIRAC%20AIP%20Supplement%20S-06(18).pdf

Riaz Haq said...

Xinhua Video: New Gwadar International Airport

https://youtu.be/41pCsOkmBoI

Key Highlights

Being built by China Airport Construction Company

Rising Phoenix shape like a wing

4F class---2nd greenfield airport after New Islamabad Airport (longer than 1,800 meters)

3,650 meters long runway

Project started October 2019

Original schedule was for completion in 36 months

Delayed due to pandemic, now expected to be completed by December, 2022

Riaz Haq said...

For a greener and richer Gwadar: B&R Tropical Arid Non-wood Forest Center

http://en.ce.cn/Insight/202206/15/t20220615_37760375.shtml

GWADAR, Jun. 15 (Gwadar Pro) – “In the eyes of outsiders, high temperature and scorching sun may be a disadvantage of Gwadar, but in our view, the light and heat conditions here are a natural advantage for the development of agriculture and non-wood forest”, noted Zhang Saiyang, vice director of the Belt and Road Engineering Research Center for Tropical Arid Non-wood Forest and doctoral candidate of Central South University of forestry and technology, in an exclusive interview with Gwadar Pro.

The Belt and Road Engineering Research Center for Tropical Arid Non-wood Forest was jointly initiated and established by Central South University of forestry and technology, China Overseas Ports Holdings Co., Ltd. and Yulin Holdings Co., Ltd. for Gwadar ecological construction and industrial development. Since 2018, it has systematically improved the local soil conditions in Gwadar. Zhang told Gwadar Pro that the Chinese team combined the organic fertilizer collected from local sheep farm and leaves and other humus to mix with local soil in a certain proportion to improve the fertility and pH of the local soil. Besides, the local soil conditions were greatly improved by the team members planting legumes to use the nitrogen fixation of legume rhizobia.

“In addition to the soil, moisture is our long-term focus as well. With arid climate here, the irrigation method appears to be particularly important,” Zhang said, “after enhancing the soil water retention capacity through soil improvement, we mainly use a combination of sprinkling irrigation and drip irrigation to maximize water conservation. Not to mention that our selected varieties are drought tolerant crop with very developed root systems.”

By now, nearly 100,000 seedlings such as bananas, dates, orchid and figs have been cultivated here. Among them, bananas (Musa nana) are selected local varieties that can adapt to drought and high temperature and produce a large amount of fruit. In May, the center successfully held the first non-wood forest products-banana harvest festival in Gwadar Port. “Our production of bananas has attracted the attention of local farmers, who hope to buy banana seedlings to grow on their own land,” Zhang mentioned.

Moreover, figs are also a key economic crop here. Hundreds of fig seedlings have already produced a lot of fruit in just one month. More than 10 hours of sufficient sunlight per day and the temperature difference between day and night in the Gwadar region allow figs, a drought-tolerant and light-loving plant, to accumulate more sugar. According to the promotion plan, the fresh and dried figs launched by the center will have a place in the market.

“In addition to bananas and figs, which are familiar to Chinese people, the endemic crops of Pakistan, including Sesbania grandiflora and Ziziphus spina-christi, can also give full play to their economic value through our breeding techniques,” Zhang listed the local valuable economic crops one by one, “the leguminous plant Sesbania grandiflora is resistant to high temperature and drought, and has a large amount of fruit. It is a very good tree species for ecological greening and economic forest. Its fruit, as a woody vegetable, has been widely promoted by us in Gwadar, and then sold in the market. The local unique Ziziphus spina-christi is also drought-tolerant and light-loving, which can bear fruit several times a year. The seedling breeding, fresh fruit sales and juice processing of it have also been put on the agenda.”

As for the future planning, Zhang Saiyang mentioned that the center has set up “Gwadar Classroom” to train local workers. Opened in March this year, it has trained the first batch of modern agricultural skilled workers in the local area, laying a solid foundation for the local development of agriculture and non-wood forest industry, as well as promoting farmers’ employment and using their own land to start businesses.

Riaz Haq said...

StartUpBlink Report 2022: #Startup Ecosystem of #Karachi is ranked at number 291 globally, and shows a negative momentum decreasing -5 spots since 2021. Karachi also ranks at number 1 in #Pakistan, and 10 in #SouthAsia. #technology #Entrepreneurship https://www.startupblink.com/startup-ecosystem/karachi-pk

Karachi is an ideal place to locate for Ecommerce & Retail, Transportation and Marketing & Sales startups. As the most popular industries in Karachi, there is a sample of 12 Ecommerce & Retail startups in Karachi, 10 Transportation startups in Karachi, and 8 Marketing & Sales startups in Karachi, on the StartupBlink Map.
On the StartupBlink Global Startup Ecosystem Map there is also a sample of 53 startups in Karachi, no accelerators in Karachi, no coworking spaces in Karachi, no organizations in Karachi and no leaders in Karachi.

StartupBlink ranks the startup ecosystems of 100 countries and 1,000 cities. Download our latest Global Ecosystem Report.

------------------


Karachi has been ranked among South Asia’s top ten start-up-friendly cities by the startup ecosystem rating website, Startup Blink, in its 2022 report.

Pakistan’s port city has broken India’s monopoly on the list by jumping up four ranks within a year to join the top ten cities.



While the other 9 cities are all in India, Karachi has reportedly surpassed Pakistan’s top city, Lahore, this year, as well as other cities that are considered to have startup-friendly environments.

However, on a global level, Karachi’s ranking has dropped by five places and is now at number 291.

Meanwhile, Lahore fell 48 places to the 305th rank internationally this year. Islamabad was ranked third in Pakistan and dropped one rank to 438th on the global list.

Overall, Pakistan’s ranking as a favorable environment for startups decreased by two places and it stood 76th globally.

It was also ranked second in South Asia and fourth among the Central Asia Regional Economics Corporation (CAREC) countries.

The report detailed that successful start-ups and digitization are of prime importance in Pakistan’s economic development.

Digital entrepreneurship and investment in startups got a boost in Pakistan during the pandemic, and startups were supported by improvements in broadband coverage and digital infrastructure, and a new framework for digital payments. Local IT companies also received tax incentives and exemptions through Special Technology Zones.

Pakistan has come a long way to strengthen its legal framework to promote digitization, according to the report, but still needs clarification on taxes and incentives for local investment.

The country’s climate of political chaos hinders the creation of stable policies and an environment of trust to actually strengthen its startup ecosystem, Start Blinkup detailed. Apart from this, increasing capital demand for emerging startups and the supply of experienced manpower are also causing concern.

To meet these needs, it is necessary for Pakistan to increase the capacity of the startup ecosystem to provide qualified and trained manpower amid the growing demand for capital for emerging start-ups.

Riaz Haq said...

Oman offer to build Gwadar railway conjures Pakistan port's past - Nikkei Asia

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Belt-and-Road/Oman-offer-to-build-Gwadar-railway-conjures-Pakistan-port-s-past

ISLAMABAD -- A company from Oman is looking to invest in a train line that would link the Pakistani port town of Gwadar -- envisioned as a key stop on China's Belt and Road infrastructure network -- with Pakistan's main railway system.

The proposed multibillion-dollar project could go a long way toward resolving the seafront city's lack of rail connectivity. It also conjures up the past of Gwadar, which was part of Oman for 175 years. But at the same time, Pakistan's turbulent political situation is casting doubt on the prospects for pushing the plan forward and realizing the port's potential.

Earlier this month, officials from Anvwar Asian Investments, an Omani project financing firm, met with officials of Pakistan's Board of Investment and expressed interest in building a 1,087-kilometer railway between Gwadar and Jacobabad in central Pakistan. The investment would be worth $2.3 billion, and the Omani side says it is ready to provide an immediate tranche of $500 million as initial financing, according to the BOI.

Many see the plan as fitting, given the history that binds Gwadar with Oman -- about 450 km away, across the mouth of the Gulf of Oman.

In 1783, the ruler of what was then Kalat State -- now Balochistan -- gifted Gwadar to Oman's Taimur Sultan, a defeated prince on the run, who later mounted a comeback and reigned as sultan in Muscat. Gwadar remained part of Oman until roughly a decade after Pakistan's inception, when Islamabad purchased it in 1958 with British help.

Many of Gwadar's older residents still have Omani nationality as well.

Nasir Sohrabi, president of the Rural Community Development Council in Gwadar, said Oman has been the primary overseas destination for the people of Gwadar, even after the town became part of Pakistan. "Plenty of people from Gwadar live in Oman and do business or work as employees in many sectors, including the army," he told Nikkei Asia.

Oman is well-regarded among many locals. Sohrabi added that when Gwadar suffered severe power shortages in 2001, Oman's then-ruler, Sultan Qaboos, gave the city 45 power generators.

"This is one instance of the people of Gwadar having a special bond with Oman," Sohrabi said.

The railway investment offer, if it comes to fruition, would significantly ease access to Gwadar and its Chinese-built and operated port, part of the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Despite being in the middle of BRI activity in Pakistan, no train lines run to Gwadar, and uncertainty shrouds plans for other railway upgrades under CPEC. Plans call for improving tracks between Peshawar and Karachi, the latter of which is about 600 km from Gwadar. But this project, known as Main Line-1 or ML-1, appears at risk of being shelved due to a disagreement on costs between Islamabad and Beijing, according to local reports in April.

"China wanted ML-1 to have a price tag of $9 billion, which Pakistan reduced to $6.8 billion," an official who deals with the planning of federal projects in Pakistan told Nikkei Asia on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorized to talk to the media.

The official added that Islamabad wants loans at a lower rate than what Beijing is prepared to offer.

Sohrabi stressed that Gwadar can never be a successful major port without a strong railway network.

"Currently, the cargo which is unloaded at Gwadar Port is transported by road to Karachi [and] from there it's shipped to other parts of the country via rail," he said. "If this is the case, then it makes more sense to unload cargo directly at Karachi Port instead of Gwadar."

Riaz Haq said...

Oman offer to build Gwadar railway conjures Pakistan port's past - Nikkei Asia

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Belt-and-Road/Oman-offer-to-build-Gwadar-railway-conjures-Pakistan-port-s-past


"Currently, the cargo which is unloaded at Gwadar Port is transported by road to Karachi [and] from there it's shipped to other parts of the country via rail," he said. "If this is the case, then it makes more sense to unload cargo directly at Karachi Port instead of Gwadar."

Some see the Omani offer to develop Gwadar's infrastructure as a quid pro quo effort to support CPEC. China is investing in an industrial park in Oman's Duqm, a port town about 1,000 km south of the Strait of Hormuz, a key shipping lane.

Yet, Oman's Anvwar Asian Investments is not the only one interested in building a railway link for Gwadar.

"A Singaporean company, Pathfinder, has expressed its interest to invest $5 billion to develop a high-speed rail network from Gwadar to Hub," a town in Balochistan, Saeed Ahmed Sarparah, chairman of the Balochistan Board of Investment and Trade, told Nikkei. He added that the Singaporean offer is undergoing an assessment by the federal government.

Neither the Omani company nor the Singaporean one had responded to requests for comment as of publication time.

Some are skeptical about the chances of moving forward with such a high-stakes, long-term endeavor given the persistent political instability in Pakistan. The coalition government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is locked in a power struggle with the man he replaced, Imran Khan, amid an economic crisis. Khan now faces terrorism charges. And investments in Balochistan, whether by China or a Canadian gold miner, have become targets of separatists.

Aslam Bhootani, a member of the National Assembly representing Gwadar, told Nikkei he was unaware of the rail investment offers as he had "not been taken into confidence yet."

But Bhootani said, "I do not see how Oman and Singaporean companies can benefit from investing in the rail network of Gwadar at such a turbulent time."