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Pakistan, Iran agree to proposal: Private shippers may be allowed between Gwadar, Chabahar

Pakistan and Iran have agreed to a proposal relating to passenger and commercial cargo carriage by private shipping lines between Iranian port of Chabahar and Pakistani port Gwadar, a senior government official told the Daily Times on Thursday.

Both countries have agreed to constitute a study group of experts to investigate the economic feasibility of establishing a joint venture between Iranian and Pakistani private sectors, in coordination with the respective government authorities. In this regard both countries have also agreed to nominate their representatives on the proposed study group through diplomatic channels within three months, the official added.

This consensus was reached at the first meeting of Joint Committee on Port-Maritime Cooperation between Pakistan and Iran held at Tehran. The meeting was arranged in pursuance of a MoU signed at the 14th session of the Pakistan Iran Joint Economic Commission in year 2005.

Keeping in view the interest of both sides to broaden cooperation regarding passenger and commercial cargo carriage between Pakistani and Iranian ports these proposals were discussed at the meeting.

Both sides also agreed to promote cooperation between the ports of Chabhar and Gwadar and possibly ports of Shahid Jajaee and Karachi as well. In this regard both the delegations agreed to facilitate exchange of information and delegations from the respective ports.

The Iranian side expressed their desire to visit Gwadar Port in near future. The Pakistan side agreed to refer this matter to the authorities of Gwadar Port in order to officially invite the Iranian ports and shipping authorities.

The Iranian side emphasized early finalization of draft MoU on search and rescue operation to promote bilateral cooperation in this field. The Iranian side was informed that the draft MoU was under consideration in coordination with the relevant authorities. However, the Pakistani side agreed to convey its comments on the MoU in due course through diplomatic channels.

In view of maritime location of Pakistan close to the Indian Ocean and the experience of Iran in the Indian Ocean, in the MoU on Port State Control, it was proposed to the Pakistan side to consider joining the said MoU. The Pakistan side agreed to examine the proposal.

While emphasizing the significance of cooperation among neighbouring countries in prevention of maritime pollution, cleaning up of seas and providing requisite facilities such as technical training as well as the necessity of proper implementation of MARPOL and OPRC Conventions, of which both countries are members, the Iranian side proposed signing of MoU on Prevention of Maritime Pollution between the two countries. The Pakistan side welcomed the proposal and announced its readiness to examine the draft of the MoU and convey their comments at the next meeting. With a view to improving maritime environment the two sides agreed to expedite the process of ratification of the CLC Convention.

It was further agreed that both sides would exchange sample certification of their classification institutes to facilitate recognition of documents of non-conventional vessels. Both sides also agreed to facilitate and promote cooperation among their shipping companies and it was further agreed to exchange lists of interested private shipping companies to organize their meetings to facilitate business activity.

The Iranian side informed that there is a 50% discount on port dues at Imam Khomeini Port for any vessel carrying transit cargo to Iraq. They invited the Pakistani side to avail of the facility.

Source: Daily Times

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