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‘PIMEC 2023’can help jump-start maritime sector

Oceans remain an important component of our planet having countless marine species and vast sea bed resources. They have given to the mankind cheapest medium for transportation of goods and they have a significant share in global GDP. Economic activities in the oceans are increasingly expanded over the period of time primarily due to growing population and globalization. Dependence on oceans has led to diverse economic interactions clubbed under the term ‘Blue Economy’ which covers industries focused on sustainable utilization of oceans based resources. The geographical location of Pakistan provides the shortest route to Indian Ocean for Central Asian Republics, Afghanistan and western part of China through Karachi and Gwadar ports, presenting great potential for development at national as well as regional levels. In this regard, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a manifestation of Pakistan’s commitment towards utilising the potential of Blue Economy through enhanced regional connectivity. The country is blessed with over 1000km-long coastline and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) covering about 240,000 Sq. Km. In addition, extension of continental shelf (50,000 Sq. Km) was also approved by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (UNCLCS) in 2015.

Pakistan’s coastal areas provide vast breeding grounds for commercially important fishery resources, including crabs and shrimps, having potential worth of more than $2 billion annually. More than 40,000 Pakistanis are directly or indirectly attached with fishing industry. Pakistan’s coastal area contains numerous scenic spots such as sandy beaches, cliffs, bays, deltas, islands, mud volcanoes, estuaries and mudflats. Pakistan’s beaches are highly suitable for water sports activities including boating, snorkeling, jet-skiing, paragliding and scuba diving to promote coastal tourism. Pakistan’s coastal line contains a range of luxurious accommodation facilities to support coastal tourism industry.

With an annual freight bill of more than $3 billion and business friendly shipping policy, Pakistan offers great opportunity for investment in marine transportation sector. Moreover, Gadani is an important hub for ship-breaking industry, spreading over 10 kms beach on the Arabian Sea close to Karachi port. It is the third largest ship-breaking yard in the world. Additionally, Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KS&EW) has state of the art Ship Lift and Transfer System (SLTS) which affords construction and repair of multiple ships as per international standards. Karachi Shipyard is also building various vessels for Pakistan Navy, including MILGEM-class corvettes. Being cognizant of the maritime potential of Pakistan, Pakistan Navy has taken various initiatives such as maritime security workshops, maritime conferences, visits and briefing to policy makers, engagements with media house and business community, inclusion of maritime related curriculum, maritime awareness and publicity campaigns, and observing world ocean and environment days, to harness benefits of Blue Economy.

Across the globe, maritime exhibitions provide an ideal platform to showcase various marine related products, systems and services, leading to beneficial business partnerships. On the same lines, Pakistan International Maritime Expo and Conference (PIMEC) is an initiative of Pakistan Navy being organized under the patronage of Ministry of Maritime Affairs in order to jump-start development of maritime sector in Pakistan and spur Blue Economy. PIMEC is scheduled from 10 to 12 Feb, 2023 at Karachi Expo Centre. The exhibition will bring together stakeholders and companies from diverse maritime fields to exploit and explore the potential of Blue Economy. It is actually to venture new chapter where we explore the true potential of much more that is to follow. Not only will it give us livelihood and vibrancy to our economy but also provide opportunities to mitigate climate change effects.

PIMEC will focus on investment and collaboration in the fields of port operations, maritime logistics, sea transportation, ship building and repair, ship-breaking, fisheries and aqua culture, sea-bed resource exploration, maritime training and education, coastal tourism, renewable energy, environmental protection, marine engineering equipment, and real estate development along the coast.

The objectives set forth for PIMEC are; to provide opportunities to maritime industry to display products at single forum and interact directly with international maritime industry; to invite international maritime and defence manufacturers for joint ventures, transfer of technology, and research to provide impetus to Pakistan’s industrial setups; and to highlight Pakistan’s vast potential for Blue Economy, reinforce efforts in the realm of maritime diplomacy. In order to achieve the objectives of this national level event, support of relevant ministries, departments and business community will be essential during planning as well as execution stages.

PIMEC will provide an ideal opportunity for interactions between the target customers and maritime industry representatives. A large number of trade and industry participants from local and international maritime sector are therefore being invited to attend the event. During PIMEC, an exclusive international maritime conference will also be held under the auspices of National Institute of Maritime Affairs. Eminent speakers will exchange views on latest trends and scientific approach to various challenges related to maritime industry.

To sum up, PIMEC is a distinct event which will help in promoting sustainable, economically viable and mutually beneficial business relationships between maritime stakeholders across the globe. In addition, it will highlight the potential of maritime sector in Pakistan and help in capitalizing the benefits of Blue Economy.

Ali Basit, "‘PIMEC 2023’can help jump-start maritime sector," Business recorder. 2022-11-03.
Keywords: Economics , Economic activities , Blue economy , United Nations , Economy , Pakistan , China , Afghanistan , GDP , CPEC , PIMEC , UNCLCS , MILGEM

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