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19 Mar, 2019 08:31

Pakistan’s shipping sector to get $2 billion investment boost from Singapore-based firm

Pakistan’s shipping sector to get $2 billion investment boost from Singapore-based firm

Singapore shipbuilding and marine service firm Global Radiance Group has announced plans to invest around $2 billion in the Pakistani shipbuilding industry, the group chairman and managing director Abdul Lateef Siddiqui said.

The step is set to create about 4,000 jobs, according to the executive, as quoted by the News International, Pakistan’s largest English-language newspaper. Siddiqui said that the country is currently forced to pay up to $4 billion to foreign shipping companies.

Pakistan’s state-owned National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) reportedly operates nine ships, three tankers and six bulk carriers with only 65,786 seafarers, 18,988 officers and 46,798 crews are currently being employed in the sector.

Siddiqui highlighted that the country’s shipping industry is earning as low as $500 million compared to the Philippines, which is generating more than $6 billion from the sector annually.

“PNSC tankers are only used to carry oil for Pakistan, however, there’s more appetite considering present and future requirement due to CPEC [China–Pakistan Economic Corridor] and oil refinery,” he said. “Besides, when the fleet is added it will create further jobs and support complimentary industries.”

The Singapore-based company pledged to build 50 new ships of the desired type and size, with the vessels expected to start being commissioned within two years. The ships are projected to pay off the entire cost of up to $50 million within 10 years, “becoming an asset besides yielding other obvious multifarious profits.”

Global Radiance Group is planning to provide technical maintenance for the vessels as well as facilitating the commercial management of the ships.

The chairman stressed that the project won’t need any financial injection from the Pakistani authorities, apart from “incentives for importers and exporters in the form of rebates and competitive freight charges.” The corporation also expects appropriate legislation that would allow restricting shipping through foreign firms when local ships are available, as well as state guarantees to “regularly pay off the installments and not to divert the income generated by the fleet on any other head till clearance of its loan.”

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