The Ministry of Maritime Affairs has announced a ferry service that would enable passengers to travel from Karachi to the neighboring countries of Pakistan. On Tuesday, the Federal cabinet officially approved the launch of ferry service from Karachi and Gwadar ports, the ferry service will travel to states of Iran, Iraq, United Arab Emirates and beyond. This is a monumental event for tourism in Pakistan!
Federal Cabinet approves ferry service for Pakistan
At present, the country lacks international and national commercial ferry services. No ferry service currently operates in Pakistan that can transport goods and passengers. Ferry services for the transportation of passengers and goods are common in other parts of the world, especially European countries. In the regional countries such as Iran, UAE, Oman, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, there were established ferry operators, that successfully operate on various routes.
The potential and benefits of a ferry service in Pakistan have been deliberated upon for quite some time. The ferry service will be especially beneficial for providing an alternate route for Zaireen for passengers intending to visit holy sites in Iran and Iraq. The information minister Shibli Faraz told press in the post-cabinet meeting conference that, “The federal cabinet has approved the launching of a ferry service for Zaireen.” He further stated that all necessary facilities such as immigration and customs would be arranged for passengers at Port Qasim, Karachi and Gwadar. The minister hoped that Haj, Umrah and pilgrimages to the middle-eastern countries could become economical through this service.
Good news for visitors of holy sites
The minister further told the press that in December 2019, he had sought a no-objection certificate from the Ministry of Defence for sea routes leading to Jeddah, Basra, Oman and Dubai. Moreover, establishing a route for transportation between Karachi and Gwadar and the provision of an alternate water route between Karachi and Port Qasim will have significant economic benefits.
The ferry service was approved after years of effort and deliberation by officials. The Defence Division recommended ferry services to Muscat and then to UAE and Abu Dhabi in the first and second phases. They were in consensus that in third phase ferry services should be opened for Iran/Iraq. The ministry was of the view that ferry service without Iran/Iraq, a popular destination for the Zaireen, in the first phase shall not be commercially viable. This is because a large number of Pakistani citizens make their way to Iran and Iraq each year to visit the holy sites.
The Ferry service is likely to be a huge hit for the citizens of Pakistan. For most people, affording air travel is difficult due to hefty costs. The ferry service is likely to attract many passengers since it is anticipated to be relatively cheaper than air travel. People will be able to travel more frequently without causing a dent in their pockets.