(October 23, 2017)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said the ignored sector of shipping has huge potential for expansion.
The importance of this sector has increased manifold due to the CPEC, therefore, the government should take steps to streamline this critical sector, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that ninety-five percent of the country external trade is conducted through foreign shipping companies which is a security risk, therefore, over-dependency on foreign companies should be reduced.
He said that improvement on seaborne trade requires proper security, therefore, number of vessels and personnel guarding sea routes should be increased.
The concerned ministry is too much focused on ports while the sector of shipping has been ignored while the private sector stakeholders have to visit many federal and provincial departments that lack coordination which adds to their problems.
The business leader said that many ship-owners prefer to get their ships registered in other countries as the ships carrying Pakistani flag face certain sanctions in different parts of the world.
Many of those involved in the logistics business also prefer to deal with foreign shipping lines ignoring local companies which indicate sorry state of affairs.
He said that Gwadar should not be considered as the starting point of the CPEC but it can be transformed into a shipping hub where the oil tankers getting oil from the Middle East and Gulf can dock for necessary repairs for which consultations with the All Pakistan Shipping Association (APSA) would be helpful.