Sino-Pak trade tops $865m at Khunjerav border

Khunjerab Pass, Hunza valley, Northern Areas / FANA – Pakistan-administered Kashmir: sign with road distances into Pakistan – KKH – photo by D.Steppuhn

URUMQI: Trade volume surged this year at Khunjerav Pass, a major border port between China and Pakistan, the Chinese media reported on Saturday.

Cargo import and export reached 66,600 tonnes in the first 11 months at Khunjerab Pass, the highest customs checkpoint between Gilgit-Baltistan’s Hunza District and  China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in the northwest, up 46.8 percent from the same period last year, reported Xinhua news agency.

Trade volume increased to almost 6 billion yuan (around $856.5 million) during the same period.

About 5,000 meters (16,500 feet) above sea level, Khunjerab Pass is an important gateway to South Asia and Europe. China mainly imports textiles, agricultural products and daily commodities and exports plants and herbs.

Authorities at Khunjerab Pass said they will continue to increase customs clearance efficiency to facilitate trade in the future.

Demand for shipment rises

Last week, the Ningbo Shipping Exchange in the city of Ningbo northeast Zhejiang province said that its containerised freight index in the India and Pakistan routes rose significantly as the New Year cargo pushed up demand for shipment.

It said that the Ningbo Containerised Freight Index (NCFI), a wind vane of China’s busiest port’s freight rates for the international container shipping market, stood at 882.3 points at the close of the previous week, up by 3.4% against the second week of December.

According to the Ningbo Shipping Exchange, New Year cargo pushes up demand for shipment that tightens cabin space has raised the booking price.

In order to increase imports from friendly neighbouring countries, it has adopted many preferential policies to gradually reduce the trade deficit.

Khunjerab Pass lies on the strategic Karakoram Highway (KKH), which is a part of the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. The port is an extremely important platform and is considered to be an important link to China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The trade at Khunjerab Pass is conducted through the newly-introduced Web-based One Customs (WeBOC) system. The government believed that trade would be much easier after WeBOC as it would align the Sust dry port with all the modern infrastructure in dry ports across the country.

The port has been operationalised for export this month that would reduce the time taken for “trading across borders” and also reduce port congestion at Karachi.

According to the planning ministry, Gwadar smart port city’s contribution to Pakistan’s gross domestic product would rise from $200 billion to $300 billion by 2050. It said that the per capita income of the citizens of Gwadar would be around $2,000 in 2025 and around $4,000 by 2035.

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