China-Pak start joint survey in North Kashmir for Xinjiang-Gwadar Rail link

Beijing Officials have been asked to carry out research to identify location for railway connectivity between Pakistan and China, as local people are enthusiast on plans to build a railway network to connect Kashgar in Xinjiang with the port of Gwadar.

“We’ve already been asked to carry out research into the location of a station at Kashgar for the China-Pakistan railway, but a detailed plan and timetable have yet to be drafted,” Wang Yongzhi, deputy commissioner of Kashgar prefecture was quoted as saying by an English daily.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced in June that Pakistan would like to build new road and rail links to Kashgar and establish a Sino-Pakistani economic corridor.

If an overland link were to be established, Gwadar Port would become the starting point for deliveries of oil and natural gas to Xinjiang, China Daily reported.

Wang said China’s long experience of construction work on plateaus could prove invaluable if the decision is made to build a railway across the Pamir Plateau.

Yuan Jianmin, director of Xinjiang logistic association, said most freight from Pakistan is transported to China via the sea  route, a journey of more than a month, whereas a railway link  would allow goods to be transported from Pakistan to cities around  China in roughly 10 days.

The poor condition of the roads between Kashgar  and Pakistan means the network is ineffective, constraining  exports to Pakistan via the land port at Kashgar to just 100,000  metric tons each year, according to Wang.

“A railway link between China and Pakistan railway would transform Kashgar and allow it to truly become an economic hub,” the daily quoted Wang.

In February, China Overseas Port Holding Co took over the management of Gwadar, a deep-water port on the shores of the Arabian Sea and situated close to the Strait of Hormuz.