Gwadar port, a key component of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), has started handling transit cargo to and from Afghanistan, according to Voice of America (VOA).
VOA, citing its sources, reported that the first ship carrying an Afghan shipment arrived at Gwadar on Tuesday. The shipment will be loaded on trucks and sent to Afghanistan through the Pak-Afghan border at Chaman.
Afghanistan has relied on Pakistani land routes as well as its ports for international trade after a bilateral agreement, known as the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (ATTA), was signed with Islamabad.
The strategically-located Gwadar port became operational in 2016 after China’s investment. The deep sea port offers a shorter overland link to Afghanistan, particularly to southern regions of the country, said VOA.
“CPEC and the Belt and Road Initiative are promoting regional economic ties,” said the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad while announcing the arrival of the first Afghan shipment at Gwadar.
Citing Pakistani officials, the publication further said that Pakistan handles approximately 47 per cent of total Afghan exports, while almost 60 per cent of Afghan transit trade goes through the Torkham border crossing.
Officials believe that Gwadar Port will also boost bilateral trade between the two neighbours.