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Reducing dependence on the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea route: Saudi Arabia will invest in the Gwadar rail project, giving new impetus to the China-Pakistan economic corridor #CPEC

As an important economic link between China and Pakistan, the construction of the Gwadar railway project will bring new opportunities and challenges for economic and trade cooperation between the two countries and the region as a whole. The Arab investment signals how in the future Saudi Arabia will initiate in-depth cooperation with Pakistan in multiple sectors for the development of the Central Asian economy

Saudi Arabia has reportedly shown strong interest in investing in Pakistan's Gwadar railway project.

During talks on April 16, the Pakistani foreign minister presented the Saudis with a proposal containing 25 potential investment projects expected to amount to more than $32 billion.

The projects cover a number of key areas from infrastructure, energy, tourism to Pakistan's minerals, most notably the railway project connecting Pakistan's main mining areas to the port of Gwadar, with an expected investment of up to $2 billion.

On April 17, 2024, the Chinese advisor in Pakistan clarified that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is based on the principle of openness and cooperation, and that Saudi Arabia's participation in the development of the railway line between West Pakistan and the port of Gwadar is warmly welcomed. The goal of this initiative is to integrate the forces of all parties to promote the socio-economic development of Pakistan and contribute to the realization of the ambitious goal of "One Belt, One Road."


The port of Gwadar, located in southwestern Pakistan, is a strategic point on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Transportation through the port of Gwadar can effectively reduce dependence on the Straits of Malacca and the South China Shipping Route, providing a shorter and more convenient alternative route for China's energy imports from the Middle East, thereby reducing transportation costs and time.

Since China officially took over the port of Gwadar in November 2015 with a 43-year lease to operate the Gwadar International Airport and Special Economic Zone, Saudi Arabia's investment in the Gwadar rail project is undoubtedly an important support to the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

It is worth mentioning that on April 7, the Government of Pakistan approved the major "Gwadar Rail Freight Link" project. The project aims to connect the port of Gwadar to Pakistan's inland areas, particularly the hinterland of Balochistan, through the construction of a rail network.

This will greatly enhance the internal connectivity of Gwadar Port, improve freight efficiency, ensure the competitiveness of Gwadar Port as a modern international port, and further strengthen its strategic position in the global logistics network.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor can be expected to reach a new pinnacle of development with Saudi Arabia's investment in the Gwadar railway project.

This will not only accelerate the pace of infrastructure construction and economic development in Pakistan, but also give new vitality to economic and trade cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia, as well as the entire region.

In the future, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will play an important role in regional connectivity and economic development, becoming a bridge connecting China and the Middle East, Central Asia and even Europe.

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