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Gwadar, Duqm port links to get boost, ferry services soon

Muscat, Jan 28 - Port routes between Gwadar in Pakistan and Duqm in Oman will be activated again, Prof Ahsen Iqbal, Pakistan’s Minister for Interior Planning, Development and Reforms, has said. “A new link to the supply link that had existed in the past will be activated again,” he said.

Speaking to Observer, Prof Iqbal hoped the connectivity projects would bring collaboration and cooperation among the regional economies, which will “offer new growth opportunities not only for the region but also for global businesses”. Pakistan and Oman are also in talks for plying ferry services between the two countries.

“We have invited a high-level delegation from Oman to explore the opportunities. We hope to start ferry services between Pakistan and Oman soon.”

Discussions are on to ply ferry services between the two countries.

The ferry service will take six hours between Coast of Oman and Gwadar, located on the southwestern coast of Balochistan, and about 200 nautical miles from Oman.

He said: “We hope that in future, Oman and Pakistan can cooperate for developing strong links with the China-Pakistan economic corridor.”

The corridor is a $50-billion project for developing Gwadar Port as well as road and rail networks with China.

Pakistan has invited senior officials to visit Gwadar Port to examine the opportunities.“We have discussed cooperation in industry and trade.”

Prof Iqbal said the “one important purpose” of his visit was to discuss with Oman opportunities for connecting China-Pakistan economic corridor with Oman’s development projects.“We see a strong synergy in Oman’s logistics and taking China-Pakistan economic corridor to Africa.”

He said: “We plan to develop strong supply chains and networks to connect West China with the rest of the world, which includes Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe.”

The minister said Pakistan is a country with a population of 200 million, of which 80 million are from the middle class.

Therefore, it offers immense opportunities for investment and business, so “we have discussed further cooperation between Omani and Pakistani businessmen for more trade between both countries”.

“His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’s leadership has been instrumental in ensuring peace and stability and at the same time developing the modern infrastructure for the 21st century, particularly maritime trade infrastructure, which is being constructed through new ports, which is very important for countries located around the Indian Ocean.

The Indian Ocean is going to become very important for Asia and it is essential for countries to cooperate and try to keep conflicts away from this region because the only thing that can tamper with the economic development of the region is conflict.”

“We hope to take the partnership between Oman and Pakistan to the next level.

The two countries have a very unique relationship.

We hope to leverage this partnership for a strong economic partnership between our countries.”

Lakshmi Kothaneth

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