Faisal Subzwari, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, briefed the Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs on Tuesday that tangible efforts will be taken for legislation on inland waterways transit (IWT), and the topic will be brought before the cabinet.
Senator Rubina Khalid chaired the committee, which convened at Parliament House to debate an implementable vision for the restoration and growth of inland waterways transport in Pakistan, the Pakistan Merchant Marine Shipping Policy, 2001, and the Pakistan Merchant Shipping Ordinance, 2001.
The team spent much time deliberating on how to build a long-term, economically feasible, and sustainable IWT solution for Pakistan.
The committee agreed that developing IWT is socioeconomically viable and will result in significant economic dividends for the country.
The minister of maritime affairs told the committee that tangible actions will be taken for legislation in this regard and that the topic will be brought before the cabinet.
The minister informed the committee that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for ferry service between Gwadar and Muscat had been inked with Oman.
The committee recommended that the ministry establish a cell to oversee, administer, and promote IWT, with representation from private sector stakeholders, relevant ministries, and provincial departments.
While emphasizing the importance of IWT, the committee stated that it will help with flood control, which is predicted to become more common in Pakistan as a result of climate change.
The IWT will also help to cut logistics costs for shippers and consumers, as well as carbon emissions and traffic congestion.
While discussing the Pakistan Merchant Marine Shipping Policy, 2001, the committee stated that the fundamental cause was investor trust, which had been affected by the nationalization of private shipping companies in 1971. For the sake of efficiency, the committee urged the ministry to meet with private-sector stakeholders.
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