KARACHI: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Maritime Affairs Mahmood Moulvi said that Pakistan has requested China to market Gwadar Port and at least utilise it for their transhipment cargo.

Speaking at the 11th Sustainable Shipping, Logistics & Supply China Summit & Exhibition, Moulvi said the Chinese private sector held 91 percent of the Gwadar Port, which meant that China was responsible for its marketing and development.

“We are asking the Chinese government to market Gwadar Sea Port because it is the responsibility of China to bring cargo at Gwadar Port,” the special assistant said, disclosing that “we requested China to, at least take their transhipment cargo from Gwadar”.

Recalling the subsidy given by the previous government, the minister said a freight subsidy was given to ship imported fertiliser from Gwadar to upcountry, as transportation cost upcountry from Gwadar was higher compared to the Karachi Port.

He said China has plans to develop fisheries and housing schemes in Machhar Colony and Keamari areas, as well as three new berths at the Karachi Port. These projects would cost $3 billion, Moulvi added.

He said Karachi and Port Qasim have been developed enormously over the years, with huge cargo vehicles anchoring at both ports. However, he lamented that the local shipping industry did not develop and still lacked any major investments.

“Apart from Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC), no shipping company exists,” he noted.

Moulvi highlighted the incentives announced by the present government to bring more players in the local shipping industry. He pointed out that the government announced five percent financing facility as well as income tax exemption for ten years.

He also shared that east and west wharf would soon be connected through a bridge, for which a contract would be awarded this month.

PNSC Executive Director Special Projects & Planning Khurram Mirza said the national shipping company was working on a five-year business plan to develop its fleet and to make its presence stronger in liquefied and dry cargo shipment.