The Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) has planned to connect Karachi to Doha, Dubai and Muscat through ferry service. Earlier reports revealed that the authorities have planned to connect Karachi to Gwadar through sea route whereas the latest reports indicate clear policy to go beyond borders to Gulf States and Iran.
According to reports, the PNSC is expected to take the government on board by discussing various matters related to the venture with the National Assembly Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping. The company’s officials are to present detailed plans in a meeting to the federal government.
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, 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. It has also obtained a no-objection certificate for the venture in March 2017 from the Ministry of Ports and Shipping, the documents said.
The earlier announced Karachi-Gwadar ferry service is expected to be kicked-off in early 2018. The PNSC has already started the process of scrutiny for the purchase of ferries.