Political parties to be again taken into confidence on CPEC: Bizenjo

KARACHI, Oct 14 (APP) : Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Senator Hasil Khan Bizenjo on Friday said representatives of main political parties of the country will be invited soon by the government to deliberate upon their reservations, if any, on CPEC route.

China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was going on according to its original plan, the minister said talking to media here at the conference on “ Global Trade, Sea Freight, Logistic, Ports and Shipping Industry.

“There is no change in CPEC route. No issue of Western route. There is no controversy,” he explained, adding he was a member of CPEC committee and was alive of every development relating to the corridor.

To a question, he said the government had announced its policy about the ferry service from Karachi to Iran. The government was ready to give a license to any private operator who qualified the terms and conditions defined for this service.

“ Government’s job is to give license, not to operate any ferry service,” he argued.

He said the Ministry of Ports and Shipping had received offers for the service, which were being dully weighed.

He said Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) was going to run a ferry service between Karachi Port and Port Qasim within next two months for transportation of its staff.

Chairman PNSC Arif Illahi said the shipping industry in the
country would boost only when it would be relieved of the duties and taxes. At present, he mentioned, total taxes/duties amount to 38 percent.

However, he was satisfied over the tax holiday to shipping
industry at Gwadar announced by the government; from July 1, 2016 up to 2020. This would help shipping industry to grow.

He informed the participants that PNSC had earned around two and a half billion rupees profit during the last financial year.

Being a trustee of Karachi Port Trust (KPT), he appreciated KPT’s performance. It had handled 50 million tons cargo during 2015 16.

With commissioning of Deep sea Container Terminal, he said, there would be a boost in cargo trafficking at Karachi Port.

KPT’s Manager Traffic, Ali Mardan Abbasi gave presentation on the handling of ships,containers and other cargo at Karachi Port.

He spoke of the existing capacity of KPT and allied facilities,
and about the future expansion plans to make it as the main sea port of the region.

Abbasi said KPT was ready to cater the CPEC related
cargo/containers as their volume was expected to increase.

However, he said, the roads and railway would play the pivotal role in this regard.

Dr. Athar Ahmed, a senior economic research and professor, also spoke on the issues relating to ports and shipping.