Exports highlight corridor’s prospects
Masroor Afzal Pasha
“CPEC provides the perfect opportunity to bring advanced manufacturing and production capacity enhancement to Pakistan. CPEC has already created 30,000 jobs in its early stages and we need to train more Pakistanis for millions of jobs to be created.”
This was stated by Senate’s Leader of Opposition, Senator Sherry Rehman while speaking at the concluding session of CPEC Summit 2018 here on Tuesday.
She said, as the first ship docked at Gwadar Port in March 2018 CPEC started creating impact in all provinces and it is probably among the few things about which whole Pakistan share same sentiments despite internal differences and want the project to succeed for Pakistan’s prosperity.
Sherry Rehman said those who have doubts about CPEC should look closely and perhaps get involved as a stakeholder as CPEC is there to benefit everyone. This century is an Asian century remarked and she expects biggest opportunities in coming decades.
“Going forward, CPEC is the most important thing for Pakistan and the next Government has to take all the factors in the account to ensure smooth management and strategically address all challenges like e-transactions and debt payment,” said Governor Sindh, Muhammad Zubair.
He said that CPEC is not at the cost of economic relations with America or Europe as it also provides opportunities to rest of the world in addition to China and Pakistan.
Governor Sindh said it was heartening that national cohesion was depicted by the representation of all provinces and different sectors in the CPEC Summit 2018 which has shed light not only at the benefits of CPEC but challenges it may pose and also suggested solutions.
“The time has come for China to take centre stage on issues like peace in the Korean peninsula, social, environmental and economic issues in the region and they would find it’s friend Pakistan standing beside them,” Muhammad Zubair added.
“We see China as Pakistan’s best friend that’s why Pakistan is the only country which supports the core interest, i.e. unity and territorial integrity, of China without any reservation,” he added.
“SMEs in China are going to relocate to other countries out of China and Pakistan’s SEZs will have a great opportunity in it. It is the time of elections and our Chinese friends demand political stability and continuation of policies hence we have to ensure free and fair elections,” said Mushahid Hussain Syed, Chairman Pakistan China Institute.
“30 percent globalization is fueled by Chinese economic growth and OBOR is the biggest project on a 21st century of which we have already started seeing transformational changes but the best is yet to come,” he added.
Chinese delegation attending the summit said that during the 1980s per capita income of China stood at $190 whereas Pakistan was faring much better at $240. However, China turned that around by adopting their open policy and now their per capita income is over $9000 while Pakistan has made slow progress to increase it to $1600 only in almost 40 years.
“We want our brother country not to fall too much behind and to step up in the progress and we would help Pakistan on every step of the way to prosperity,” stressed the speakers.
The Chinese delegation expressed their love for Urdu language and how China is trying to overcome language barriers. “Only one or two universities were teaching Urdu in China before CPEC and now over 10 universities are teaching the Urdu language,” said the speakers.
Babar Badat, President, FIATA – International Federation of Logistics Associations, chaired the session on logistics where Tariq Rangoonwala – Chairman, International Chamber of Commerce – PNC; Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar – Chairman, Karachi Port Trust; Asad Rafi Chandna – Acting Chairman, Port Qasim Port Authority; Zhang Baozhong – Chairman, China Overseas Port Holding Co. Gwadar Port and Ali Jameel – Chief Executive, TPL Corp. among others shared their views.
“China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will boost opportunities in logistics business manifolds as millions of containers are expected to move cargo from Gwadar and Sust to China annually,” said Ali Jameel, CEO TPL Corp. while addressing CPEC Summit 2018 here in Karachi.
“Container tracking will play a pivotal role in logistics related to CPEC not only to ensure that no pilferages happen but also to ensure the safety of cargo and drivers by monitoring their driving behaviour and fatigue levels,” he added.
He said, technology can help monitor if vehicles deviate from their prescribed routes or make an unusual or unplanned stop, the container door is opened, drivers’ driving behaviour with regards to safety and his fatigue levels while ensuring mandatory rest and also enable drivers to raise SoS in emergencies.
Zhang Baozhong – Chairman, China Overseas Port Holding Co. (COPHC) – Gwadar Port said that COPHC had invested $50 million by March 2018 for port facilities upgrading, surrounding environment and port business. The terminal handling efficiency has greatly improved after the 5 new STS Gantry Cranes and Gwadar Port has achieved its full operational capability. It can accommodate two 50,000-ton vessels simultaneously and handle bulk-cargo, general cargo, containers and RORO efficiently. Chairman, Karachi Port Trust Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar said the CPEC provides Pakistan with an opportunity to become logistical hub/ supply chain for South, Central & Western Asia, Middle East and Western China and CPEC can be used as a stepping stone for boosting Global Competitiveness.
He said that the success of CPEC is dependent upon the safe and secure environment, transportation, facilities and logistical integration and Karachi Port is the important link to synergize activities for the overall success of CPEC. “Keeping Karachi Port out of the integrated supply chain of CPEC, will not augur well for the overall initiative,” he added.
Energy experts including Shakil Durrani – Former Chairman WAPDA, Iqbal Z Ahmed – Chairman, Associated Group, Shah Jahan Mirza, Managing Director Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB), Cai Din – Chief Executive Officer, China Power and Shamsuddin A. Shaikh – CEO, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company said that availability of sufficient energy is crucial for industries along with infrastructure to remain competitive.
They said that Thar Coal project is central to solve energy woes of Pakistan while alternate energy projects relating to CPEC will play a crucial role to help meet country’s energy demand.
The speakers hoped for up-gradation and expansion of transmission lines and taking steps to improve recovery of dues by distribution companies, failure of which will result in the exponential rise of circular debt, especially once the new power generation project come online and demand of energy increases. It was also discussed to provide free electricity to the citizens who consume up to 60 units of electricity a month as they opined that the cost to recover bills from such consumers is much more than the amount to recover.
Shah Jahan Mirza, Managing Director Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB) said that 11000 MW power generation and 4000 MW Transmission line projects are currently being managed by Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB). He said that PPIB is careful about the environmental impact of power projects and emission from Sahiwal Power Project is about 15th of global standards.
Experts in the session stressed the need to preserve environment amid challenges raised by the CPEC and specifically focused on the role of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN’s) role in the BRI, as well as the broader issue of mainstreaming biodiversity in the CPEC, and managing the needs of development with those of ensuring sustainable development.
Regional Director IUCN, Aban Marker Kabraji, Javed Jabbar, and Malik Amin Aslam, Former State Minister for Environment said that CPEC is crucial to Pakistan’s prosperity, however, due care is necessary while planning and implementing the projects so that impact on nature and environment should be minimal.