Afghanistan transit trade has started at Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, China’s embassy in Pakistan said in a tweet on January 14. The first ship full of containers reached Gwadar port on January 14, Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews reported.
The containers will be loaded onto trucks for transport to Afghanistan through the Pakistani border town of Chaman, VOA reported.
Afghanistan has traditionally relied on Pakistani overland routes and the two main southern seaports of Karachi and Port Qasim for international trade, under a bilateral deal with Islamabad, known as the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (ATTA).
However, recent Chinese financial and construction efforts have activated the deep-water port of Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea, which offers a much shorter overland link, particularly to southern regions of Afghanistan, for the rapid delivery of goods.
The port is at the center of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is building Pakistani roads, power plants, economic zones and a major airport in Gwadar to improve connectivity between the two allied nations and the region in general.
The massive project is hailed as the flagship of Beijing’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, which has brought about $30 billion to Pakistan in direct investment, soft loans and grants over the past six years.
Source: Times of Central Asia