KARACHI: The Government of Pakistan has issued its very first license for a ferry cruise service to Stateowned Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) to start domestic and international sea travel services in Pakistan.
In this regard, Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo has handed over the very first license of ferry cruise service to Mr. Arif Elahi, Chairman PNSC. The Director General Ports and Shipping, Asad Rafi Chaandna was also present on the occasion.
This license will make the PNSC capable of facilitating passengers across Pakistan in both domestic and international journeys through ferry ships. It will also pave the way and open new avenues in the shipping sector.
The ferry services will debut from Marina Club, DHA, to Port Qasim facilitating the daily commuters looking to avoid the city’s traffic jams and economically viable ferry services to other islands to promote commercial and tourism activities.
Internationally, the port authorities along with ministry made a plan to launch a ferry service from Karachi to Pasni, Gwadar and Chabahar( Iran) and Muscat (Oman) . The proposed service would be a competitive one because of the fact that government has waived off port charges for the next 14 years for ferry services. It is said that the ferry service will cost about 40% less than average of Rs. 45,000 for a return air ticket to Dubai.
PNSC is working on plans to encourage the private sector to come forward and avail the concessions under the public-private partnership to make the ferry services more competitive to promote people-to-people contact.
The PNSC also plans to launch ferry services to the Gulf countries as well as special Hajj and Umrah services to and from Saudi Arabia. It also includes developing river ferries system in the country to help promote commercial activities.
The Ministry of Ports and Shipping is also working on proposals to make good use of rivers including Indus and Jhelum as main routes to the Arabian Sea.
The existing network of canals and rivers in the country could also be beneficial for Chinese freight companies for the shipment of their goods in shortest possible time through ferry service from North to South. This network would be used in unison with the network of highways and motorways and train services as part of the multi-billion dollars CPEC project starting from China’s border town Kashgar to Gwadar and Karachi ports.