KARACHI: Senior journalist Mr. Parvaiz Ishfaq Rana has reported that a new Ferry Policy is on the anvil in Pakistan quoting federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo.
Initially, ferries will be launched from Karachi to ports in Iran, Dubai and Oman and, eventually the routes would be enhanced to facilitate people for getting alternative sources of entertainment, allowing prospective investors to launch both ferry and dining cruise services. This means small tourist cruise ships plying the sea lanes along and beyond Sindh and Balochistan coasts. Once in place, this business can lead to Internal Tourist Cruises on the Indus River which is a natural product for Pakistan Tourism but has not come about.
Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs said the draft policy gives a wide range of concessions, including tax holiday up to 2040 and that there would be no duty and taxes on purchase of a ship.
Responding to a question, the Minister said the draft policy also covers issues including immigration and narcotics, thereby limiting loopholes for any abuse of service. He said the ferry business could be run by the private and public sectors with the government`s role reduced to only licensing. Director General Ports and Shipping will be the issuing authority. Pakistan National Shipping Corporation would also be eligible to run its ferry services
In order to promote and encourage this new service in the country, the Ministry for Maritime Affairs has also suggested that there be no port charges for 4-5 years as well as allowing prospective investors to launch both ferry and dining cruise services. Any operator who would like to introduce dining cruise alongside the coastline would only need one licence.*