Dar for exploring potential of ship building industry

AFP

ISLAMABAD: Plan for the construction of two world Class shipyards on joint venture basis at Gwadar and Port Qasim had been pending, since 2008, and no progress has been achieved during the last five years.
This was informed in a meeting chaired by Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar regarding proposal for building new shipyards along Pakistan’s coasts, at the finance ministry.
Vice Admiral (R) Iftikhar Ahmad Rao, Chairman Ship Building Association, gave a detailed presentation on global shipyard industry. Giving historical perspective of the importance of seas for mankind, he emphasised that the nations which realised the importance of seas benefitted and became great powers. 
He said that maritime sector is prime source of new growth, employment and social cohesion in the developing countries. He informed that the world GDP grew at an average of 3.6% per annum, whereas sea trade grew at 4.3% per annum in the last 50 years. In other words, world’s GDP grew eight times, whereas, sea trade grew 13 times in the last half century, he added. He said that China started ship building in the 90’s and today it is the global leader with 41 % share, followed by South Korea and Japan with 33% and 20% share respectively.
He informed that there are over 1000 shipyards in China and even India has over 100 shipyards. In comparison, Pakistan has only one shipyard, Karachi Shipyard Engineering Works (KS&EW) with two small dry docks. He underlined deep-sea shore, abundance of labour force and location as Pakistan’s advantages in comparison to others regional countries. He briefed the meeting about plans for two world class shipyards on joint venture basis at Gwadar and Port Qasim. He informed that these shipyards projects will attract major investment from foreign shipyard companies. He added that this initiative of building two shipyards at Gwadar and Port Qasim had been pending, since 2008, and no progress has been achieved during the last five years. He emphasised that Gwadar is being a new port; a shipyard over there will greatly help the port itself.
The Minister for Defence Production, Rana Tanveer Hussain informed the finance minister that a shipyard takes five years to be completed/ operational and we need to expeditiously complete the necessary approval process in order to achieve progress in ship building sector. He informed that the federal government can provide land and related infrastructure as its equity in the proposed shipyards. The rest of the investment will be made by foreign companies which are leading the industry.
The finance minister said that the ship building industry has huge potential as we have long deep seas shores. He observed that, in line with the true potential and ideal location, ship building industry can contribute towards our economic development and poverty alleviation. The minister said that during the last 8 months, the industrial sector has performed well and it is the vision of the PML (N) leadership to make Pakistan a country that can prosper and develop as per its potential.  He said that it is the responsibility of the government to attract key industrial projects like shipyard industry as major triggers for further industrial growth. He assured the Ministry of Defence Production of finance ministry’s support to the projects, which can help generate economic activity and attract valuable foreign expertise and investments. He stressed the need to train and utilise abundant local human resource, which will contribute to employment opportunities & increase in per capita income.
The meeting was also attended by Finance Secretary, Dr Waqar Masood, Maj General Raza Muhammad, Acting Secretary, M/o Defence Production, Rana Assad Amin, Advisor to the Finance Ministry and senior officials of the Ministries of Finance and Defence Production.

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