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Pakistan PM directs upgrade of Karachi port, seeks regulation plan for shipping lines

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KARACHI : Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has directed to take comprehensive measures to upgrade Karachi port and ease access to the port through rail and road connectivity.

During his one-day visit to Karachi on Sunday, the prime minister issued the directives while presiding over a session where he was briefed on Karachi Port Trust (KPT), Port Qasim and Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC).

The high level meeting was attended by Federal Ministers Muhammad Aurangzeb, Jam Kamal Khan, Ahad Khan Cheema, Attaullah Tarar, Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the rest.

Prime Minister Shehbaz said steps should be taken to reduce customs clearance time by installing modern machinery. He also highlighted the connectivity of KPT through road and rail network for ease of access of goods.

He also clarified that the Lyari Expressway should be opened 24/7 to ensure smooth supply of goods to KPT as well as connecting the port with the Malir Expressway to improve delivery of goods.

He ordered that the supply of goods be enhanced by connecting the port with a rail network.

PM Shehbaz ordered the Qasim Port Authority to reduce the fees for LNG cargo ships and bring them in line with international rates.

He sought a comprehensive strategy to regulate shipping lines in addition to ordering the PNSC to cut its spending.

“Growth of the private sector, ease of doing business and facilitation of investors are our top priorities,” the prime minister said, adding that the national economy is on a path of stability.

He added that the “federal government is providing maximum facilities” to exporters to develop the country’s export sector.

At the same time, the prime minister asked the authorities to present a report to compare the performance of KPT with other ports.

During the briefing, Prime Minister Shehbaz said that “Pakistan is of key geographical importance in the region”. In detail his meetings with the leaders of the Central Asian states and the Russian president during his visit to Kazakhstan.

He said that Pakistan provides a convenient route for Central Asian states to access maritime trade, while countries have also expressed interest in using Pakistan’s ports for trade.

Prime Minister Shehbaz said Pakistan could earn billions of dollars through modernization of ports. He vowed that Islamabad is looking forward to boosting exports through value-added industry after upgrading its ports.

He directed the port authorities to ensure the installation of modern machinery as soon as possible and take effective steps to fully exploit the advantages of the country’s ports.

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