Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs directed the concerned ministry on Thursday to revise and update Pakistan Merchant Marine Shipping Policy at the earliest while focusing on maximum facilitation and removal of existing constraints in development of the sector. The Senate committee met here with its chairperson Senator Rubina Khalid in chair while senators Nuzhat Sadiq and Moula Bux Chandio, Chairman Karachi Port Trust M. Tariq Huda, Chairman Pakistan National Shipping Corporation Rear Admiral Jawad Ahmed, representatives of the shipping industry and other officials attended the meeting. The standing committee of the upper house also instructed that all stakeholders, including the shipping industry should be taken on board while devising the policy and input of ministries of railways, water resource and finance may also be sought in the regard. A viable, result-oriented and practical policy for merchant marine shipping was need of the hour, the committee members noted, adding that all the relevant laws and rules and policies must be in cohesion with each other for achieving the required results. During the briefing on Merchant Marine Shipping Policy 2001, the committee members questioned on reasons of continuing such a policy for two decades which failed to achieve its set objectives. The policy measures also reflected inconsistency as different tax exemptions were withdrawn or made effective at times without taking concerned stakeholder on board, they further observed. The committee chairperson took serious notice of and expressed annoyance on absence of senior officials of ministry of maritime affairs from the meeting and observed that committee was offended by absence of the secretary and additional secretary of the ministry and it was not acceptable at all. The committee was briefed that the policy of 2001 was amended to provide incentives to local shipping industry and aimed at achieving set targets of growth by 2030 as it was the international best practices that nations around the world offer various incentives and flog protection to aid in to the development of their national fleet. Maritime expert Anwar Shah while stressing on need of some quick fixes for the shipping industry said import of all edible and inedible commodities be contracted on FOB basis rather then CIF as it would not only reduce the import cost but insurance and other charges be paid in the country. He further suggested ensuring Trading Corporation of Pakistan’s imports through Pakistan flag carrier vessels, extending incentives to national shipping industry and incentives for foreign fleets on employment of Pakistani nationals. Shipping company owner Naeem Sarfraz said that industry did not need incentives but removal of constraints. He also stressed on the need of revisiting the policy in consultation with all stakeholders in the shortest possible time. Expert Captain Masood Alam and others said that directorate general of ports and shipping should invite input of consultant, experts and all the other stakeholders for redrafting concerning laws and policies governing the shipping sector in the country. Senator Rubina Khalid said currently there were no rule or regulations concerning to use of waterways for transportation in the country. She said committee would take up the issue with ministry of water resources as use of rivers was a cost-effective mean of transportation around the world. She further pointed out that content about marine life and resources was missing from educational syllabus leaving the young generation unaware about an important aspect of natural ecosystem and national economy. The committee also suggested that visit of school children to ports and other maritime installments, including KPT should be encouraged and special segments be set up in museums on maritime to sensitise them about the subject.