5034
Views

China Plans $3.5B Equity Investment in Pakistani Port Project

baba channel
The KCCDZ project includes a new harbor bridge (left) and a 1,500 acre redevelopment district (right)

Published Sep 26, 2021 10:29 PM by The Maritime Executive

At this year's joint meeting on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, Pakistan's Ministry of Maritime Affairs came away with a huge commitment. The Chinese government has agreed to make a direct investment - not a loan - of $3.5 billion in the Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone, or KCCDZ. This massive proposal would include constructing a mixed-use residential/commercial/seaport project on underutilized lands belonging to the Karachi Port Trust. 

Illustrations of the 1,500-acre development show a mixture of high- and mid-rise buildings on a strip of reclaimed land, just across an inlet from Karachi's TP3 sewage treatment plant. The illustration suggests that its new buildings and roads will also replace the Machar Colony neighborhood, an unplanned settlement also known as the  Fisherman's Colony. This area is home to about 150,000 people, primarily low-income residents who work in fishing or shrimp-processing, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres. 

In a release, Pakistan's Ministry of Maritime Affairs said that the project would include residential resettlement assistance for "more than 20,000 families living in the surrounding slums."

The proposed development also appears to transform the fishing harbor on the port's West Wharf - a jam-packed marina for small fishing vessels - into a new waterfront commercial district. According to the ministry, a new "state-of-the-art fishing port" will take its place, along with a "world-class fisheries export processing zone," according to the ministry.

KCCDZ will also add four new ship berths for the Karachi Port Trust, located on the new, reclaimed "peninsula" in the harbor. It will also add a giant harbor bridge across Baba Channel, giving the new district a direct highway connection with Karachi's container terminals. It also adds an extra sewage plant adjacent to the existing TP3 facility. 

"The KCCDZ will unlock Pakistan’s unexplored Blue Economy and significantly enhance development and industrial cooperation between the two brotherly countries," the ministry said. "The KCCEZ is a game-changer for Pakistan."