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Pakistan plans to expand ferry service from Karachi to Doha, Dubai and Muscat

Pakistan plans to expand ferry service from Karachi to Doha, Dubai and Muscat

Pakistan recently waived off Gwadar port charges for the next 14 years to make the service competitive

The Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) is expanding its planned ferry service from Karachi to nearby coastal cities Doha, Dubai, and Muscat

The plane about expanding the services was revealed in a set of documents received from the Ministry of Ports and Shipping.

Earlier in 2016, PNSC had plans for a ferry service from Karachi to the ports of Gwadar and Chabahar which to be completed in early 2018.

The Ministry of Ports and Shipping has recently waived off port charges for the next 14 years to make the service competitive and encourage investors.

The national flag carrier in a document made the following recommendations in order to commence the ferry service “as early as possible”:

  • Facilities for passengers including a canteen, waiting area, restrooms, terminal, embarkation and disembarkation areas, immigration and customs, quarantine area, electricity and standby electricity, car parking, first aid and communications.
  • Equipment and other facilities for speedy clearance of passengers, luggage and cargo.
  • Swift resolution of immigration and visa issuance matters, illegal immigrants, [and] issues related to immigration of Iranians.
  • Contacting the ministries of interior and narcotics control, defence and foreign affairs to request arrangements for the safety and security of the crew and passengers.
  • Full waiver on port tariffs and charges (including berth hire, wharfage, pilotage, and passenger handling).

Additionally, in a letter to the Karachi Port Trust, Port Qasim and Gwadar Port Authority chairpersons, the PNSC requested a waiver on port charges and annual license renewal fees until the year 2030 as a means to promote the service and encourage investors.

“The initiative would promote ferry service in Pakistan and encourage both public and private sector entrepreneurs to enter into this trade,” the letter said.

It also obtained a no-objection certificate for the venture in March 2017 from the Ministry of Ports and Shipping, the documents said.

According to a letter written to Federal Secretary of Ministry of Ports and Shipping, the officials of PNSC will hold detailed meetings to present their plans.

PNSC will soon take the government on board with its plans following the discussion of various matters relating to its new venture with the National Assembly Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping.

The company’s officials are to present detailed plans in a meeting, according to a letter written to Federal Secretary of Ministry of Ports and Shipping.

About Saqlain Naqvi

Saqlain Naqvi is an Islamabad-based journalist who has also worked in PR sector previously.
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