Pakistan to launch ferry services to the UAE, Iran, Iraq, and Oman

The potential for starting a ferry service in Pakistan has been felt for quite some time.

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Government announces launch of ferry service in Pakistan

On Tuesday, the federal cabinet gave formal approval to launch a ferry service from Karachi and Gwadar ports to Iran, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, and beyond.

Up until now, there had been no international or national commercial ferry service operating in Pakistan to transport passengers and goods.

According to a summary, water transportation’s potential advantages through ferry services were established and shared worldwide, particularly in various European countries.

In the regional countries such as Sri Lanka, Iran, UAE, Oman, and Bangladesh, there were established ferry operators running on various routes successfully.

The potential for starting a ferry service in Pakistan has been felt for quite some time.

Moreover, providing an alternate water route amongst Port Qasim, Gwadar, and Karachi has good potential.

As per the details, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs had moved a summary in front of the Prime Minister in 2017, proposing the launch of a ferry service via Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior inscribed the proposal, but the Defence Division had raised various ferry service conditions. Hence, the Prime Minister’s Office returned the summary with the directions to address the defense ministry’s statements and re-submit the same within the shortest possible time.

Subsequently, the maritime affairs ministry re-submitted the proposal and responded to the observations raised by the Ministry of Defence. It proposed a slightly changed route and involvement of private operators. The Defence Division supported the proposal but stressed that the ferry service should be launched in three phases.

The Defence Division recommended ferry services to Muscat and then to the UAE in the first and second phases, respectively, and later to Iraq/Iran in the third phase. The ministry believed that ferry service without Iraq/Iran, a popular destination for the pilgrims, in the first phase would not be commercially viable.

Port of Karachi. (Wikipedia)

The foreign affairs inscribed this ministry’s proposal subject to addressing the Ministry of Defence’s security concerns. The re-submitted request was returned by the Prime Minister’s Office, with the direction to convene a meeting of the relevant stakeholders to address all the problems, including those raised by The FBR and defense ministry, and after that, to submit recommendations.

On Tuesday, the ministry proposed starting a ferry service from Karachi Port linking Gwadar Port and Port Qasim with Bandar Abbas (Iran), Basra (Iraq), Muscat (Oman), and Dubai (UAE).

The ferry terminals at Gwadar Port, Karachi Port, and Port Qasim and Gwadar Port would be established by the respective port authorities, replicating all the operational facilities related to security, immigration, and customs of any international airport country in collaboration with other ministries.

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