LONDON – The Pakistan government has secured an additional $8.5 billion of investment from Beijing as part of the countries’ joint energy, transport and infrastructure plan, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Wednesday.

That is on top of the $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which focuses on road building and energy infrastructure to end chronic power shortages in the country and to link China’s landlocked north-west with the deep-water port Gwadar on the Arabian Sea.

Some $4.5 billion of the additional investment will be spent on upgrading tracks and signalling on Pakistan’s main railway line from Karachi to Peshawar to increase the speed on the line to 160 km per hour from the current 60-80 kph, Iqbal told Reuters in an interview.

Another $4 billion will go toward an LNG terminal and transmission line, he added. “This has now all been approved, so this is an additional $8.5 billion to the $46 billion we had already, so we are now close to $55 billion,” Iqbal said.