2017 –year of the CPEC take off

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There has been a lot of talk about the game-changing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) yet there is a little authentic information available, especially in the press. A thorough investigation has revealed that the CPEC is about to take off now and seventeen of its early harvest projects are in an advanced stage.

With an extraordinary pace of ground work, almost seventeen projects costing around US$ 16 billion are either completed or are in a near completion stage. With this achievement, CPEC is fast becoming a reality now.

When in late 2013 as the first Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting took up the CPEC discussion, the Pakistani team put its first demand to give priority to energy projects to help generate over 10,000 megawatts as electricity shortage was crippling the country’s normal life badly.

The year 2017 depicts a totally transformed Pakistan. Today, load shedding has become a rare phenomenon for urbanites while life has changed in far flung areas too.

Of the total 51 CPEC projects, Balochistan has won a lion’s share with 16 projects closely followed by Sindh which has bagged 13 ventures. Punjab has got 12 projects while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has also got a good number of projects which is eight. Two CPEC projects are in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

Out of the 17 early harvest projects, which all would reach completion stage, eleven are in energy sector while others are related to transport and infrastructure. The energy projects a part of the CPEC would contribute towards the sustainable growth of industries and unhindered electric supply for domestic consumption in Pakistan.

Moreover, CPEC attracts foreign and local investors in the fields of high-capacity industrial units, factory–market road transportation and distribution services, rail-supported bulk transit of goods, dry ports along the CPEC routes, storage facilities for transit food & goods.

The taxi-services to and from the terminals of Lahore Orange-line Metro, Consultancy and brokerage services for Chinese and Pakistani investors, Medicinal distribution and supply networks to and from the China-Pakistan Friendship Hospital in Gwadar, Human resource and recruitment agencies linked to the Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute in Gwadar are other attractions.

Early harvest projects

Mr Zhao Lijian, the deputy chief of mission of the Chinese embassy, told this scribe that the Chinese decision-makers had advised an energy mix formula to meet Pakistan’s core needs and the recipe included coal, wind and solar projects. He says that most of the energy projects were in an advanced stage, ahead of their scheduled timelines.

“The energy projects are far ahead of their scheduled timelines. Once completed, they would produce 10,400 megawatts of power, far more what the shortage Pakistan faces,” the Chinese official said.

Mr Zhao, who has taken it as his mission to make CPEC success, added that two more projects under the CPEC were awaiting inauguration.

The Corridor is granting enhanced connectivity and power to the otherwise diffracted and energy hungry economic centers of Pakistan

Of the energy power plants, Sahiwal Coal-Fired Power Project is going to be the first plant of the CPEC to produce 1320 megawatts of electricity and add it to the national grid. The plant has been completed 80 percent and would start production this year, far ahead of its schedule.

He said that the recent JCC had also resolved to build one Industrial Park in each province and federating unit too.

“Now the respective government would have to complete identification of land and other legal process so as after feasibility study and other necessary procedures, the construction work at these Industrial Parks could be started as soon as possible,” he added.

Port Qasim Coal-fired Power Plant, being constructed by Powerchina Resources Ltd. is also at an advanced stage and has been completed by 70 percent. Once completed, it would also produce 1320 megawatts.

Engro Thar Coal-fired Power Plant and Surfice Mine in Block II of Thar Coal Field are being constructed by China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) and both would develop 1320 megawatts of power too. The first block is almost ready and awaits inauguration too. The entire plan is almost 70 percent completed.

Dawood Wind Farm has almost been completed by Hydrochina International Engineering Co Ltd and it would generate 50 megawatts of power after inauguration. The solar power plant in Bahawalpur, Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, is being installed by Zonergy Company Ltd and it would generate 900 megawatts once completed. However, the plant has started power generation as its first phase is complete to generate 300 megawatts.

The 100-MW Jhimpir Wind Farm is being constructed by UEP Wind Power (PVT) Ltd and it is also in advance stage with 70 percent completion. The 50-MW Sachal Wind Farm is being operated upon by Hydrochina International Engineering Co Ltd and it has also attained 60pc completion.

720-MW Karot Hydropower Project is being constructed by China Three Gorges South Asia Investment Ltd and it has also attained 60 percent completion.

The China Sunec Company is constructing another wind farm namely China-Sunec wind farm which would produce 50 megawatts. South Punjab has also got a coal fired power project which would generate 1320 megawatts of power. The Rahimyar Khan Coal Power Plant is being developed by TBD and is at feasibility stage for now.

Thar Coal Block-I and Mine Mouth Power Plant would develop 1320 megawatts of power. The plants are being constructed by Shanghai Electric. 660-Megawatts Hubco Coal Power Plant is being developed by Chinapower International Holding Ltd awaits inauguration. The 300-MW Gwadar Power Plant is being constructed by TBD and it is at feasibility stage.

Actively promoted projects

Apart from 17 early harvest projects, eight actively promoted projects would help generate 17,045 megawatts of electricity which would open a new vista of opportunity for energy starved Pakistan which would not only meet its domestic needs but it would also be able to export energy to its neighbours.

The 1320-Megawatts Gaddani Power Plant would be developed at District Lasbela, Balochistan by TBD. The project is in feasibility stage with 15 percent completion.

1100-Megawatts Kohala Hydro-Power Station is being constructed by China Three Gorges South Asia Investment Ltd and is in negotiation process with 15 percent completion. Another 100-Megawatts Wind Farm Phase-II is being developed by China Three Gorges South Asia Investment Ltd. and is under construction with 15 percent completion.

Feasibility study is being conducted for 1320 megawatts Thar Mine Mouth Coal Fired Power Plant by Oracle and TBD. Another 1320-Megawatts Muzaffargarh Coal-fired Power Plant is at feasibility stage by China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC). 525-Megawatts Gas Fired Power Plant by TBD is also at feasibility stage.

Gwadar port city

Through its deep-sea port, Gwadar has helped China and Pakistan realise the goal of a 21st Century Maritime Silk Route, which will benefit not only China and Pakistan, but also Central Asia by becoming the region’s key entrepôt.

Most of the projects at Gwadar are being developed by Chinese companies and the government of China would gift these projects for Gwadar residents under grants.

The 19-Kilometer long Gwadar Eastbay Expressway would be constructed by TBD. The expressway would be connecting Gwadar Port to Mehran Coastal Highway and the Government Framework Agreement has been signed with 40 completion work.

Work on Gwadar New International Airport is also underway by TBD while the Government Framework Agreement has also been signed. Work has been completed by 40 percent. Gwadar Free Zone is being developed by China Overseas Ports Holding Company Ltd. (COPHC) and almost 50 percent work is completed. Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan is at feasibility stage and 15 percent work is completed by TBD. The expansion of multi-purpose terminal including breakwater and dredging is being done by the TBD. The project is at feasibility stage with 15 percent stage.

Gwadar Primary School has already been developed and is functional. The school has been gifted by China Communications Construction Company Ltd. for the people of Gwadar. Gwadar Pak-China Friendship Hospital Upgradation is also being conducted by TBD and feasibility study is underway.

Gwadar Pak-China Friendship Technical and Vocational College is also being developed by TBD and feasibility study is underway.

Transportation infrastructure

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor envisions an extensive overhaul of the existing transportation infrastructure in Pakistan and laying out of new routes for the facilitation of transit trade and enhancement of market accessibility.

As the Chinese saying goes that for becoming prosperous, first build roads for better connectivity, the road and rail connectivity across Pakistan is an essential part of the CPEC. China and Pakistan have joined hands to building the transportation infrastructure.

KKH Phase-II is being developed from Havelian to Thakot. The 120-Kilometer long Expressway is being developed by China Road and Bridge Corporation. Around 60 percent construction work is complete.

Karachi-Lahore Motorway (Sukkur-Multan Section) is 392 kilometer long and is being constructed by China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited. 60 percent construction work is complete.

China is also helping Pakistan revive its rail network for better connectivity. A joint feasibility study for upgradation of ML-1 and establishment of Havelian Dry Port are being conducted by China Railway. 100 percent work is complete now.

The upgradation of 339-km long ML-1 (Multan-Lahore Section) is being negotiated while 749-kilometer long Hyderabad-Multan Section and 182-km-long Kemari-Hyderabad Section are also being negotiated by TBD with federal government. Framework Agreement is under discussion with 40 percent completion.

The 533-Kilometer long DI Khan-Quetta Highway (N-50) is also being constructed by TBD and the project is at feasibility stage.

Industrial cooperation

CPEC is opening attractive avenues for investment emerging from economic cooperation between the two rising powers of Asia. With extensive roads, railways, ports, and energy infrastructure being laid down, businessmen all around Pakistan are finding new opportunities that are worth their money and time.

The Corridor is granting enhanced connectivity and power to the otherwise diffracted and energy hungry economic centers of Pakistan. With many projects having entered their realisation phase, and many more being developed on fast-track as part of the Early Harvest Projects, multiple business opportunities across the value chains of industry are set to open up.

Projects aimed at engaging various regions of Pakistan into industrial cooperation through resource mobility, economic integration, and information connectivity are stated below.

Gwadar-Nawabshah LNG Terminal and 700-km long pipeline is being developed by China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau. The project is ready for inauguration with 40 percent completion. Haier and Ruba Economic Zone Phase-II is being developed by Haier Electrical Applications Corporation Ltd and is at feasibility stage.

Optical Fiber Cable from Rawapindi to Khunjrab is being laid by Huawei Technology Co, Ltd. The project is under construction with 50 percent completion. DTMB Demonstration Project is being done by TBD and MOU has been signed.

Lahore Orange Line Metro Train is being developed by China Railway-China North Industries Group Corporation (CR-NORINCO). The project is under construction with 60 percent completion. Promotion of TD-LTE commercialisation in Pakistan is also at feasibility stage and TBD is taking care of the project.

Agriculture business

CPEC also offers prospects of harnessing and promotion of agriculture businesses too. The CPEC brings about host of opportunities for mechanised farming, electricity-operated cottage industry, soil-less farming, corporate farming, fruits storage and export opportunities and others.