Islamabad: A state-run Chinese company will handle the operations of Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar port for a period of 40 years, the government said on Thursday.

Minister for ports and shipping Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo said that the China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) would carry out all the development work on the port on the Arabian Sea.

COPHC has 91% share of revenue collection from gross revenue of terminal and marine operations and 85% share from gross revenue of free zone operation, he said. The provinces have no share in revenue collection as per the constitution.

Gwadar forms the southern Pakistan hub of the $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure and energy projects Beijing announced in 2014. Last year, Pakistan welcomed the first large shipment of Chinese goods at Gwadar, where the COPHC took over operations in 2013. It plans to eventually handle 300 million to 400 million tonnes of cargo a year.

It also aims to develop seafood processing plants in a nearby free trade zone sprawled over 2,281 acres. The route through Gwadar offers China its shortest path to oil-rich West Asia, Africa, and most of the western hemisphere, besides promising to open up remote, landlocked Xinjiang.