KARACHI – Mr. Ali Haider Zaidi, Federal Minister of Maritime Affairs of Pakistan visited Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry to have detailed discussion with Mr. Ghazanfar Bilour, President FPCCI, Syed Mazhar Ali Nasir, Senior Vice President FPCCI, Mr. Tariq Haleem, Mr. Waheed Ahmed, Vice Presidents FPCCI, Dr. Iqbal Thaheem, Secretary General FPCCI and all office bearers.
In this meeting, Mr. Ghazanfar Bilour, President FPCCI addressed various concerns pertaining to the maritime sector of Pakistan. He highlighted on the gigantic prospective maritime sector acquires to produce income for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan but due to lack of awareness, absence of right directional policies and counter – productive regulations the desired result could not be achieved.
Syed Mazhar Ali Nasir, Senior Vice President FPCCI also shed lights on the issues in detail related to all three (03) ports of Pakistan. Initially he started off with presenting concerns of “The Gateway of Pakistan” i.e. Karachi Port and enlightened that the major concern at Karachi port is the turnaround time of ship calling due to which huge losses are being incurred. He also highlighted the losses incurred and issues related to Karachi Dock Labour Board (KDLB). He also highlighted descriptively the losses incurred and policies to be made for rectifying the issues/ concerns pertaining to Seed Cargoes, Fertilizer Cargoes, Elevated Express Project, Cargo Village, Liquid Cargoes, Coal, Clinker and Scrap at Karachi Port Trust.
On Highlighting the concerns related to “The Gateway to National Prosperity” i.e. Port Qasim, Mr. Tariq Haleem provided details regarding the operations and showed concerns that the present channel needs to be either widened and deepened & passing bays should be made or another suitable channel should be made otherwise all shipping will be effected at Port Qasim. He added “However we believe that Port Qasim is already working on remedial measures, we wish them the very best.”
Further adding up, Mr. Tariq Haleem discussed the concerns regarding “The Symbol of Prosperity” i.e. Gwadar Port. He believed that Gwadar would prove to be a “FUTURE JEWEL” in the Pakistan and China CPEC flagship of China’s “One Belt One Road” initiative to build a new silk road of land and maritime trade routes across Asia and beyond. But the question he raised was when all this will happen? He added that the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) with China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC) has been working for some time to ensure commencement of regular cargo shipments at Gwadar Port so that FPCCI can send a message to the comity of nations that Gwadar Port is a fully operational, fully functional vibrant port. FPCCI has also signed a MOU with COPHC in this regard. He presented that the first priority at this point of time is to attract Afghan Transit cargoes at Gwadar Port and also to promote transit of Fertilizer for Afghanistan via Gwadar Port. He further emphasized that FPCCI is keen to invest and setup projects at Gwadar. He specially mentioned that Gwadar could prove to be a great investment if worked in the tourism sector due to its geographical tranquility & climate. FPCCI in cooperation with COPHC is making efforts to develop Gwadar into a tourist destination as well and attract cruise ships from Europe & UAE to open new markets of tourism as well as revenue generation for Pakistan.
Mr. Tariq Haleem highlighted the concerns related to PNSC and advised that such policies and branding needs to be executed which would make PNSC a healthy competition in the market. He also advised that culture of coastal shipping needs to be revived by easing on regulations, procedures, custom and port charges so that inter-Pakistan sea transportation can commence soonest. He also said that to curtail the flood management and wastage of water, FPCCI Standing Committee on Inland Water Transport & Flood Management has made out a working paper and we will Inshallah be presenting this to the Honourable Prime Minister of Pakistan during February 2019.
Before the meeting ended, Mr. Tariq Haleem presented his contentment over the decision taken by The Honourable Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan by giving the approval for the establishment of a Ship Breaking Yard at Gwadar.