Pakistan Makes First Shipment of Chinese Goods from Gwadar Port (Delivered through CPEC, Overland from Western China)

On November 14, Pakistan made its first shipment of Chinese goods through Gwadar Port In what is likely a precursor to the flow of goods the two countries are seeking to achieve as a result of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).  CPEC is a major transportation infrastructure initiative being funded, thus far, by some $46 billion in committed investments from China.  It is a strategically significant spoke of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

Growth in CPEC Transactions

Growth in CPEC Transactions

The goods were transported to Gwadar from Kashagar, a city in China’s Xinjiang province, via what has been termed the “western route.”  It took 15 days for the two convoys of trucks to complete the delivery, which traversed Pakistan’s volatile Balochistan province.  Chinese ships will reportedly transport the goods to their final destinations across the Middle East and Africa.  The commemoration ceremony for this milestone was attended by the head of Pakistani Army as well as ambassadors from 15 countries.

Balochistan is home to an active insurgency and has been an area of ongoing concern in terms of security issues that could challenge the success of the project.  The Baloch people have expressed their discontent with CPEC and are highly skeptical that the local population will see any economic benefit from the project.  At the commemoration ceremony, the role of the Pakistani military in providing security for this preliminary achievement was explicitly acknowledged in a sign of just how prominent these concerns are in the short- and long-term success of this strategic undertaking between the two countries.

China companies are not only responsible for financing much of the work taking place, but are also conducting a large portion of the engineering and construction to make this project a reality — linking Pakistani ports to the western Chinese province of Xinjiang.  The attached image is IntelTrak’s “Quick Facts” visual demonstrating the number and value of CPEC-affiliated transactions annually over the past five years.