Pakistan is giving final touches to its initiative to introduce Karachi-Chabahar and Gwadar-Muscat ferry services for promoting the people-to-people contact.
Sources at the Ports and Shipping Ministry told a local newspaper that the modalities which include the clearance from the relevant departments were being worked out for introducing Karachi-Chabahar ferry service.
Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC)—the national flag carrier is also engaged in finalizing the arrangements which include the acquisition of ferries.
Karachi-Chabahar ferry service is being given preference because of it being more feasible economically. More than twenty-thousand Pakistani pilgrims visit Iran each year, sources revealed.
Abbas Akhundi—the Minister for Transport along with a high-ranking Iranian delegation has just concluded a visit to Pakistan and has believed to have affirmed on the ferry service plan.
During his visit to the port of Karachi, Akhundi also suggested boosting trans-shipment business through the linkage between Bandar Abbas and Karachi port as there was enough space of 204,000 hectares available at Bandar Abbas for boosting the trans-shipment cargo handling facility.
Similarly, Pakistan is also in talks with Oman to promote travel between Pakistan and Oman via a fast ferry service between the two countries.
Sources reveal that discussions between Oman and Pakistan for staring a fast ferry service between Gwadar and Muscat are almost near completion.
Islamabad is in wait for the government of Oman to complete their discussions on the proposal so that the plan could be made final.
As per official estimates, there are some 275,000 Pakistanis living and working in Oman and represents one of the biggest expat populations in the country.
Shipping experts are of the view that the presence of such a ferry service would provide an affordable and faster mode of transportation between Oman and Pakistan.
The distance between Pakistan and Oman is way shorter than that between Iran and Oman. The experts added that there is already an operating fast ferry service between the mainland and its northern governorate of Musandam, which controls partial access to the Strait of Hormuz.
This service was introduced back in the year 2008 and was counted among the fastest in the world at the time when it was launched.