The Punjab government is working to kick start its first ferry service by the quarter of 2016 to ensure the utilization of waterways for transportation.
The ‘Inland Transportation’, the title of the project, initiative aims to cut transportation cost and to ease traffic congestion on roads.
The project will be inaugurated in March 2016 by Inland Water Transport Development Company (IWTDC), as stated Director of IWTDC Aamer Saleemi said during a talk with media.
He asserted that the said project would bring about cheap cargo and passenger transportation facilities by reducing transport cost by 50% vis-a-vis road and railway mode of transportation, as a ferry can achieve a distance of 180km with one litre fuel with the ability to carry a ton of cargo, multiple times more than can be done via road or railways.
The service would be beginning from Daudkhel to Attock during the first phase of the project.
The Punjab government has dedicated an equity of Rs200 million with authorised sum of Rs500 million for the project.
As far the bidding, several multinational shipping companies have manifested their interest to invest for the project and the official bidding for private companies will be starting from next month, as stated Saleemi. He expressed that unluckily the usage of river and canal system in Pakistan for transporting goods and passengers have never been solemn followed.
He also stated that the step will also help in escalating the deteriorating tourism industry in the country.
“Waterways are environmentally friendlier than road and rail network due to less fuel usage,” said Saleemi, adding that: “Additionally, the terrible loss of life in accidents on unsafe roads, as huge volumes of cargo are hauled across, can be reduced considerably.
“It will also provide investment and job opportunities and promote river transport. Several main rivers and canals in Pakistan have the potential for navigation and transport goods and passengers after remodelling.”