Fertiliser transit trade from Gwadar Port to Afghanistan continues
BEIJING: Even as battle raged across Afghanistan last week, Gwadar Port, now operated by a Chinese company, continued to ship fertilisers to the landlocked country, the Global Times learned.
A total of 500 tonnes of fertilisers were shipped out of the port’s warehouse by a fleet of Pakistani trucks during the last week, a source at the port told the Global Times.
Located in Balochistan province, the Gwadar Port is a key project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Since its operation, the port has begun to play a new role as an efficient transit stop and time-saving trade port for the landlocked Afghanistan. The shipments of fertiliser started in January 2020.
The fertiliser shipments, destined for Afghanistan are leaving the warehouses intermittently due to border closures. But this business was not cut off despite the fighting between Taliban fighters and Afghan government forces last week, a source at the port said.
Zhou Rong, a senior researcher at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, saw the unbroken trade flow through this international corridor, even during the times of war and conflicts, as a validation of the advantages of trade.
“What happened just showed that normal trade between nations should not be blocked regardless of the situation,” Rong said, adding that the Taliban knew it should not set up roadblocks for trade, which is beneficial for Afghanistan’s war-torn economy.
A trickle of Chinese products continue to flow into Afghanistan through Pakistan, improved by CPEC infrastructure, though trade has been mostly done through the Karachi Port, one of South Asia’s largest and busiest deep-water seaports that handles around 60 per cent of Pakistan’s cargo, Rong said.
Goods made in China shipped to Afghanistan included small machinery, electrical transmission and distribution equipment, which are imported by the Chinese companies that provide electricity to the country’s major cities.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that China hopes that the Taliban will honour its vows to establish through negotiation an open and inclusive Islamic government, and act responsibly to ensure the safety of Afghan citizens and foreign missions in Afghanistan.
According to the Chinese experts, China could play a role in the post-war reconstruction and development of Afghanistan, pushing forward projects under the BRI and providing investment when safety and stability are restored in the country.
Afghanistan has become the first landlocked Central Asian country to benefit from using the Gwadar Port for transshipment trade.
In 2020, the country imported 43,000 tonnes of fertilisers through the port contributing to its agricultural development.
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