Chinese consortium offers to construct Gwadar

KARACHI: Consortium of two leading Chinese construction companies, CREC and Sinotec, has offered to construct strategic Gwadar-Khunjrab Rail Link at an estimated cost of Rs 250 billion including Rs 160 billion for infrastructure and Rs 90 billion for locomotives on electric traction basis in four years on soft term loan.

According to a released issued from Lahore, the offer was made on behalf of the Chinese companies Consortium by Mr Song Shuan Ping in a comprehensive presentation before Railways Minister Khwaja Sa’ad Rafique in Islamabad. The loan so offered can be professional loan, commercial loan or as a grant and will be payable in seven years period.

Pointing out strategic importance of Gwadar –Khunjrab Rail Link, Mr Song Shuang Song listed a number of benefits which would accrue both to Pakistan and China as well as other countries of the region once the project is implemented and it becomes operational. He said the rail link will enhance the security of Pakistan and stabilize the region due to its strategic importance, main aim of the link is to connect the Central Asian Republics with Pakistan Railways network, the link will boost to a great extent trade relations between China and Pakistan, China will be able to receive cargo to and from Gwadar along the shortest route from Gwadar to Khunjrab.

He further pointed out that this rail link can also be used to supply oil from Persian Gulf to all Pakistan and Xianjiang China, can also provide access to China to Iran, enhance tourism in Northern Areas and Balochistan besides generating employment opportunities in the Northern Areas of Pakistan.

Making the presentation, the Consortium representative strongly pleaded for electric traction as compared to present diesel traction on which Pakistan Railways is being run and said pointedly that the adoption of electric traction can provide electricity for train lighting and air-conditioning and also to the railway stations for operational purposes in this era of power shortage.

He said electric traction also has substantial financial benefits estimated to be around Rs 32 billion per annum through saving on account of fuel and lube oil, maintenance and overhauling, less staff required, elimination of power vans, non-transportation of diesel oil, long life and short turn around time.

Highly appreciating the presentation and the offer of financial assistance to implement Gwadar –Khunjrab Rail Link, Railways Minister Khwaja Sa’ad Rafique said that China is a great time tested friend of Pakistan and number of Chinese companies are already working in different sectors in Pakistan for various years.

He said Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has more than once highlighted strategic importance of Gwadar-Khunjrab Rail Link adding that the offer of the Chinese companies consortium will be given due consideration on top priority basis by all concerned and a decision taken as soon as possible . He said the govt is attaching high priority to put the Pakistan Railways back on track and make it financially as well as commercial viable and profitable once again ensuring provision of best possible facilities and amenities to the travelling people across the country.

It may be mentioned here that CREC (China Railway Engineering Corporation) is the third largest construction company in the world, has built more than 50 thousand kilometres of rail lines, over 5760 kilometres of bridges, 4700 km of tunnels, 3400 km motorways and 566 km metropolitan railways in different countries.

Sinotec has a vast experience of electrification, construction of transmission lines and grid stations of 220 KV and 500 KV as well as construction of EPC projects in the areas of infrastructure and renewable energy.