Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi has said that Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) is planning to start ferry services in the country. In a tweet on Sunday, the minister said that the Ministry of Maritime Affairs in collaboration with PNSC and Karachi Port Trust, is working towards realising the potential of the country’s blue economy by promoting business opportunities in the areas of maritime tourism, coastal development and passenger-cum-cargo ferry service in the country. He said with a large population and growing needs for regional and international connectivity, Pakistan holds immense potential for operation of ferry services from, to and within Pakistan. In this regard PNSC has invited proposals from the investors and operators who intend to run ferry services on either domestic or international routes or both. Zaidi urged Hajj and Umrah tour operators to make use of the “great opportunity” provided by the government by investing in ferry services and “designing” packages for intending pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia. “Registered tour operators in the country can design & market Hajj/Umrah/Ziarat packages,” Zaidi said in the tweet, sharing a handout by the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC). Zaidi, however, said that by launching a ferry service to the Kingdom, tour operators would be able to provide an alternate mode of transport. “Pakistan holds immense potential for the operation of ferry services from, to and within the country,” the PNSC said in a statement, basing it on the country’s 220 million population and “growing needs for regional and international connectivity.” “PNSC may extend its expertise in manning, militating, technical operations…and agency services thereby facilitating the investors/operators toward success in their ventures,” it added. Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis visited Saudi Arabia every year, mainly for Umrah and Hajj, before the Covid-19 pandemic. The Kingdom is also home to over 2.5 million Pakistanis, while Saudi Arabia and the UAE remained top contributors to Pakistan’s highest ever remittance inflow in April.