LAHORE - Gwadar, the jewel in Pakistan’s economy, possesses an immense strategic lure and could emerge as a key shipping point, bringing Pakistan the much needed income. If it is combined with the surrounding areas through communications infrastructure, it can become a new Asian trade nucleus.

This was stated by Zhang Bao Zhong, chairman of China Overseas Ports Holding Company, while addressing a memorandum of understanding ceremony. The MoU was signed between North South Transport Network (NSTN) Pvt limited Pakistan and Gwadar International Terminal Limited (GITL) on Thursday at Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) premises. The MoU was signed by Muhammad Anwar, CEO NSTN, and Capt Xiaolong Dai, CEO GITL, in presence of Shoukat Meraj, Director, North South Transport Network (Pvt) Ltd. S M Naveed, senior vice president of PCJCCI, chaired the session.

The MOU has been inked in order to complement and fortify the common interests and objectives amongst the parties with respect to co-operation in the development of Gwadar port. According to the MoU, GITL intends to provide land for warehousing and storage of goods/containers to NSTN.

During the MoU signing session, the reputed dignitaries discussed various significant aspects regarding Gwadar Port. S M Naveed informed that currently, the transport and logistics sector (trucking, freight forwarding and warehousing) contribute around 0.38% to the GDP, and approximately 650 million dollars to the national income. He said that by attracting 5% of China’s international cargo volume, the three transport and logistics subsectors could earn $6 billion annually, creating 9,000 new enterprises and 400,000 new jobs in the country.

CEO GITL stated that up till now Gwadar is a deserted area and China, this year, is determined to speed up the development process so as to involve more and more people to trigger the economic circle in Gwadar. He said that MoU signed for the development of logistics sector at Gwadar including storage and warehouses will prove to be a catalyst to economic activity in the city.

Muhammad Anwar said that Gwadar would emerge as a financial center and trading pivot of the region, which will definitely attract talented residents from Pakistan and abroad. Therefore, Gwadar’s local governing structure should be able to embolden resident entrepreneurs, traders, financiers, artists, and other circles of intelligentsia to become part of the governing bodies of the city, he added.

After the MOU session, PCJCCI facilitated the participants of the ceremony by arranging an exclusive meeting with the management authorities of China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC) at premises of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. During the whole activity, Customs Syndicate, PCJCCI and China Overseas Ports Holding Company played a facilitating role.