Chinese and local firms join to chase $5bn in Pakistan infrastructure opportunities

China Energy Engineering Company (CEEC) has announced an alliance with Islamabad-based civil engineer Zahir Khan Brothers (ZKB) to bid for up to $3bn in road projects that will be put out to tender in Pakistan this year.

The agreement was sealed at a meeting hosted by the Pakistan embassy in Beijing. Badar uz Zaman, a commercial counsellor, told website China Economic Net that, as well as the road schemes, "they will also work together to tap up opportunities in the special economic zone construction, and buildings for new factories". He said these may add up to around $2bn.

There will also be more than $400m of water-related projects in the Punjab this year, and these projects will also be targeted.
Another possible source of work is the present trend in Pakistan to build towers in the country’s major cities, demand for which is being driven by urbanisation.

ZKB has a 40-year track record of delivering infrastructure, mostly in Pakistan’s domestic market, and presently has around 150 live projects.

Pakistan is one of China’s closest allies in Asia, and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which will give China access to the Indian Ocean, is one of the most important of the Belt and Road programmes of work.

The construction sector accounts for about 8% of Pakistan’s workforce, and capital spending of around $30b is expected this year.

Image: The value of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was put at $62bn in 2020 (Alexey Novikov/Dreamstime)

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