Masroor Afzal Pasha
In future, the southeastern Iranian port at Chabahar needs the support of Gwadar Port in long term, due to its strategic importance and close proximity. Both the ports, Gwadar and Chabahar could support each other in future. These views were shared by the Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo while speaking at the Federal of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI) meeting and presentation on Gwadar Port here on Monday.
“We are in a position to operate ships at Gwadar Port in a month’s time,” he informed. “We thing that it’s a very big business avenue for Pakistani business community to take advantage of Chabahar Port and at the same time similar opportunities for Iranian entrepreneurs,” he added. Gwadar Port would be fully operational within a month time for ship arrivals as there is a need of country’s third port to be fully functional to handle cargoes, he added. As far as Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC), we are going to tender three vessels. PNSC will not run any ferry service because we have made a comprehensive ferry policy for completely in private sector whether the operator of ferry service will operate ferry to Iran, Dubai or to African countries or within the country’s coastline trips for leisure, it completely operate in private sector, he said, adding that when we came to power there was no policy for ferry service and we have made a comprehensive policy.
The government will facilitate anyone from private sector and there is a good potential for ferry service, he said, pointed-out that there is a potential of half-million pilgrims for Iran and Iraq. Similar potential lying with Dubai, Muscat and Chabahar (Iran) could be linked with the ferry service, he said, adding, “If someone willing to start ferry for Karachi we will provide them facilities at passenger pier of Karachi Port without any charges.” Hasil said, “We are going to start entire tender process of elevated expressway in next few days.”
The project remained dormant for last 12 years and needs by the metropolis and it will be completed in two years time, he informed, adding, the elevated expressway will ease the traffic congestion of the city. We are also going to initiate tender process for the entire Thole Produce Yard (TPX) and remove all lying containers from its (TPX Yard) premises, he said. He pointed out that our business community is not taking interest in setting-up of industries or investing in Gwadar, no one have right to blame others in forging opportunities at Gwadar’s Free Zone area.
“If you (business community) are not investing in Gwadar the business community has no right to blame others,” he added. There are several places that have potential for tourism at coastline but no one is taking interest in the coastline of Balochistan, he said, adding, “Doing investment in such areas is not our responsibility, we are responsible for giving permission to anyone who is investing,” Hasil added.