Ministry of Maritime Affairs has started a vigorous diplomatic campaign for winning the elections for International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) category C being held next year.
For the first time since 1991, the Government of Pakistan is seriously considering participating in the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) elections, said Minister for Maritime Affairs, Ali Zaidi, during his diplomatic meetings for the same purpose, held on Friday.
In a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan and ambassadors from several countries, the minister informed the participants about the government’s vision for the ‘Blue Economy’. The amabassadors of Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kuwait and Maldives were present in the meeting, along with the ambassadors of Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Syria, Yemen, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
“There is no shortage of resources in Pakistan,” said Ali Zaidi, adding that the government is taking the country towards progress with the right governance. He said that the concept of blue economy has been introduced in Pakistan for the first time, while “in the [rest of the] world, port authorities run the entire cities”. He said that for the first time in history, the ports and maritime trade is being given due attention.
He said, “New York Port Authority run the entire city. The city’s airport, trains, bus service, Lincoln tunnel, all of it is owned by the port authority”.
The minister said that when a port is built, all the development work in the surrounding area is done by the port authorities. “I decided to contribute to Karachi’s development through its ports right after I took charge of this ministry,” said Zaidi, adding, “The maritime affairs ministry and team are diligently working according to the prime minister’s vision”.
He said that the new shipping policy will also promote private sector shipping in Pakistan. He said that with more shipping companies starting operations, the foreign exchange that is spent on freight would be saved. “All data of seafarers has been digitized and uploaded on the website,” the minister informed.
He said, “Our seafarers are not any less competitive than anyone, and we need assistance from all countries to resolve their visa issues.”
He said that the maritime ministry was introducing innovations in the sector and Port Qasim and Karachi Port trust will be linked to an innovative bus service. The minister informed that work was in progress on coastal tourism projects with assistance from the Balochistan government. “Last year we went to IMO, and for the first time, a Pakistani minister made a speech there. Next year, we will contest the Category C election of IMO,” he said.
Ali Zaidi said, “We have a coastal line spanning 1,100 kilometers. Pakistan is enriched with marine resources.” He said that the Blue Economy concept will play an important role in the economic development of the country, adding that, “Pakistan handled 90 million tonnes of cargo last year”.