Chabahar-Karachi ferry service to promote people-to-people contact

Islamabad, April 17, IRNA - Iran and Pakistan have plans to launch Chabahar-Karachi ferry service which will not only promote people-to-people contact but would also boost tourism and generate economic activity in the region.

The decision was taken during recent visit of high ranking Iranian delegation to Pakistan led by Minister of Road and Urban Development Abbas Akhundi.

Iran and Pakistan are two neighboring states which enjoy strong brotherly ties but despite the fact that large number of Pakistanis travel to Iran for religious and commercial purposes, there is no ferry service available between the two countries and the people have to use road and air links for the travel which is quite expensive.

It is said that after the launch of the ferry service best transport facilities would be available to people of both countries who travel on these routes on a regular basis , however, Iranian side hopes that ferry service would be extended to other areas.

Karachi-Chabahar ferry service is the top priority of the Pakistani government because it is economically more viable. More than 200,000 Pakistani pilgrims visited Iran last year and the ferry service would provide them better and fast traveling facility.

The national flag carrier, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) is busy in finalizing the project and its arrangements including acquisition of ferries.

The ferry service would prove to be a major step to enhance people-to-people contact and generate economic activities in the region. Iran and Pakistan share same culture, religion, values and they have so many other things in common which no other two countries of the world have.

Every year millions of Pakistanis travel to Iran for religious and commercial purposes through other routes but with the start of the ferry service they can travel to the neighboring state on affordable rates.

The ferry service will also promote tourism as Iran is a one of the major tourist detestations with lots of tourist attraction from ancient cities and beach resorts, to its modern capital and skiing destinations.

During his visit to Karachi port, Iran’s Minister of Road and Urban Development Abbas Akhundi also proposed to promote trans-shipment business through linkage between Karachi Port and Bandar Abbas as there was ample space of 204,000 hectares available at Bandar Abbas for promoting trans-shipment cargo handling facility.

The Iranian side has also called for the early launch of the railway line project between Gwadar and Chabahar which will help in enhancing cooperation and development of the two ports.

Iran and Pakistan have already plan to enhance their trade volume to five billion dollars and steps like start of ferry service, linking Chabahar with Gwadar through rail and road link would open more avenues of cooperation between the two states to achieve this target.
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