ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Saturday announced a 10 per cent reduction in port charges in order to enhance the port’s operational activities.

He made this announcement while attending a presentation during his visit to the Ministry of Ports and Shipping here.

The Prime Minister said that port charges in Pakistan are high in the region. Cargo handling is sluggish while storage facilities are deficient. This, he said, impedes the flow of trade and adds to the cost of doing business.

The Prime Minister said that since the transfer of Pakistan Marine Academy to the Higher Education Commission in 2004 for turning it into a university/centre of excellence has not materialised, the possibility of shifting its administrative control back to the ministry may be examined.

He said that Gwadar Port is the port of the future and must be developed as per its master plan, positioning it as a hub for trade and trans-shipment in the region.

Gwadar is ideally placed to serve trading needs of Central Asia, Afghanistan and western part of China. For this purpose, he added, “we need to move fast on developing communication infrastructure.”

The prime minister directed the Ministry of Communication to expedite the construction of road network from Gwadar to upcountry to facilitate transportation and enhance port activity.

Source: The News