A recently released joint report from the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University of China and Caijing Magazine shows several multi-billion-dollar projects along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
CPEC is the economic corridor between China and Pakistan, which comprises of several roads, rail, and energy projects. The corridor is part of China’s bigger One Belt One Road initiative, unveiled by President Xi Jinping in October 2013. The expected cost of these projects has been estimated at around $54 billion. This cost will be met by Pakistan mostly by taking out Chinese loans. CPEC will facilitate trade between China and Pakistan and the region, through an overland route that connects Kashgar (China) to Gwadar (Pakistan). It also involves the construction of a network of highways, railways, optical fiber and pipelines.
Benefits to both countries
For China, CPEC is giving it an alternative route for trade, rather than the current South China sea. It has the added advantage, that it is much shorter than the sea route. Using this overland route through Pakistan will allow China to reduce the transport distance to many of its markets, by over 9,000 km. This is especially important given current political tensions China has with its regional neighbors, over the South China sea ownership. Pakistan will benefit from improving its energy and transportation infrastructure. The projects are also expected to create over 30,000 jobs by 2030.
In November 2016, over 100 truck cargos were loaded and driven from China via the corridor and loaded onto ships in Gwadar. In December 2016, Pakistan Navy officially launched its ‘Task Force-88’ (TF-88) to enhance maritime security of Gwadar port and protection of CPEC associated sea lanes against both conventional and non-traditional threats.