Chinese & Pakistani construction giants join hands to explore opportunities in Pakistan
by Zafar Hussain
BEIJING, March 12 (China Economic Net) - Chinese and Pakistani construction giants -China Energy Engineering Company (CEEC) and Zahir Khan Brothers (ZKB) Construction Company have decided to work together to explore opportunities in the construction sector of Pakistan.
The two companies, in a meeting hosted by Commercial Section of Embassy of Pakistan, Beijing, discussed ways and means to take advantage of up to $ 3 billion of projects in road infrastructure sector to be available in Pakistan this year, according to Badar uz Zaman, Commercial Counselor.
“They will also work together to tap opportunities in the special economic zone construction, and buildings for the new factories. The estimation of the construction activities is around more than $ 2 billion. So, the joint venture having a great experience in the building sector has also agreed to work together,” he told CEN.
Badar stated as both companies specialize in road construction projects, they have a strong record. Particularly CEEC has done many projects overseas. And similarly, ZKB has also played its role in the large construction projects in Pakistan.
It is to be noted that in the backdrop of the construction package announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan and a lot of growth in the construction sector, the joint venture and the memorandum of understanding between the two companies will enable their participation into many construction projects.
In Punjab, he said that there will be more than $ 400 million worth of water related projects this year, and these projects will also be targeted. Besides, many of these projects are financed b the Asian Development Bank and other multilateral fund.
The Commercial Counselor mentioned that Pakistan is experiencing a strong growth in the construction sector and there has been recorded uplift of cement in the country last month. “The monthly uptake of cement is around six million tonnes. Similarly, the steel industry is also operating at its full capacity and nowadays, the construction industry is at its peak as well,” he added.
Badar said there is also a peak that has been observed in the construction sector from the private sector. So many developers have started many new projects this year.
He informed that there is a strong trend of construction of high rise buildings, and both companies are specialized in the construction of high rise buildings.
“Both companies agreed to introduce skyscrapers to Pakistan similar to China’s because the high urban population density causes space limitation in cities,” he stated.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has already underlined to raise the cities vertically to meet the problems of transportation and communication faced by the dense populated areas.
He said large cities including Karachi are also facing water-related issues like the distribution of fresh water and tankers. Sometimes, the distribution is done through tankers. So, the pipelines are required to be laid from home to home and to the factories.
The main cities like Karachi, Lahore Hyderabad and Faisalabad face flooding during rainy weather or monsoon. Therefore, in the meeting, it was discussed that the fresh water and wastewater related projects have to be executed on urgent basis so that this flooding problem can also be overcome.
Badar informed there is strong support in the construction projects that is coming from China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related projects, and both countries, China and Pakistan have increased their efforts to materialize CPEC projects very quickly.
CEEC has also seen a restructuring and after that its three arms will be very active. One of their subsidiary company will be focusing on the overseas investments, while the second company, already very active in Pakistan, will be focusing on the thermal power generation related projects, grid constructions and transmission lines.
In Pakistan, being the all-weather strategic cooperative partner of China, there is a very strong urge in the Chinese companies to not only act as EPC contractors but also very keenly observing the public private partnership related projects. “They also have a very strong interest in the build operate and transfer related projects,” he added.
He said a number of new power generation projects have been commissioned in Pakistan but the country still faces power distribution problems. CEEC has been committed to playing its role in this area, and active in the power distribution related projects.
China Gezhouba, a subsidiary of CEEC, is already in the process of construction of Suki Kinari and Azad Pattan hydel projects. In the past, they have constructed Neelum-Jhelum project.
Most economists estimate the construction value to stand between 10% and 12% of the total gross domestic product (GDP). As, it provides stimulus to over 42 ancillary sectors including aluminium, brick, cables, cement, fixtures, glass, kitchen and bathroom fittings, marble, paint, steel, tiles, transportation, warehousing and wood.
He further said that it has a far-reaching impact on the overall economy as it employs 8% of the total labour force. Based on this estimation the total construction of around $ 30 billion is expected this year.