Pakistan government has launched a multi-billion dollar project in the coastal city of Karachi under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone (KCCDZ) was described as a game-changer for Pakistan. The direct Chinese investment is expected to be around US$3.5 billion. It is an initiative of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs. Spread over 640 hectares or 1,581 acres on the western backwaters marshland of the Karachi Port Trust (KPT), the project aims to transform Karachi into a modern port city. The environment-friendly project envisages four new berths for KPT, a modern fishery port, and a majestic harbour bridge’ connecting it with Manora Islands and Sandspit beach. A world-class fisheries export processing zone will also be set up to boost Pakistan’s trade potential and a water treatment plant to restore the marine ecosystem and reduce pollution.KCCDZ would also provide affordable housing to more than 20,000 families living in the surrounding slums as part of the flagship low-cost housing project by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The project was announced following the 10th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) on CPEC, held in September.

The virtual meeting was co-chaired by Pakistan’s planning and development minister Asad Umar and China’s vice chairman of the national development and reform commission Ning Jizhe. The JCC is the highest decision-making forum of CPEC which meets at least once a year to review progress on CPEC projects and identify future projects. “KCCDZ will unlock Pakistan’s unexplored blue economy and significantly enhance development and industrial cooperation between Pakistan and China,” the maritime ministry statement said. The government officials claim the project has enormous potential to attract global investors as well.

Pakistan’s maritime ministry is focusing on supporting blue economy initiatives. The blue economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth. Some of its sectors include fisheries, aquaculture, shipping and maritime transport, coastal tourism and cruise ship industry, port activities and shipbuilding, sweater salination, deep-sea mining, offshore oil and gas.