A fleet of container cars arrived at Gwadar Port Saturday, the southern end of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the first arrival since the CPEC project was launched in 2013.
The 31-car fleet, carrying construction materials and mechanical equipment, departed from Kashgar, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, on Oct. 29.
It left China on a 3,115-kilometer journey through the Khunjerab Pass and crossed the Karakorum and Hindu Kush ranges in western Pakistan before its final stretch across the Arabian Sea.
According to the customs office in the regional capital Urumqi, the fleet stopped in major cities and posts along the CPEC such as Islamabad and Sost Port in Pakistan. In addition to cargo delivery, research was also conducted on the condition of roads, transportation costs and local customs and practices.
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong told those gathered at a celebration event Sunday that the inaugural trip proved the corridor to be a successful multi-function channel between the two countries.
Thanks to the rapid development of the CPEC, the trial crossing succeeded, which would boost cross-border multimodal transportation between China and Pakistan, said Yuan Jianmin from the Xinjiang branch of Sinotrans & CSC Holdings Co., a major logistics firm in China.
With financial backing of 46 billion U.S. dollars and scores of infrastructure projects, the ongoing construction of the CPEC is one of the largest endeavors now taking place in the world.
Roads, energy projects and industrial parks in the pipelines, not to mention Gwadar Port, the corridor will satisfy Pakistan's immediate needs and help the south Asian country get back on its feet after years of terrorist campaigns wrecked its economy.
The CPEC project is going well on the whole and the completed part is bringing tangible benefits to local people, Sun told Xinhua in an earlier interview.
According to Cao Lei, chief of Khunjerab Pass, exports of cement, steel and mechanical equipment to Pakistan have grown substantially in recent years as Chinese companies contracted more assistance projects of hydropower, water conservation, energy and transportation infrastructure in Pakistan under the framework of CPEC.
The volume of transported goods through the pass exceeded 20,000 tonnes in the first three quarters, indicating trade recovery after a severe earthquake cut the only land channel between the two countries in 2010.
During the celebration, a freighter belong to China's container company COSCO began its maiden voyage from Gwadar Port to the UAE. It was the first time the port saw export containers head overseas. The port is now a fixed docking station for the freighter.