A ferry service between Mumbai and Karachi is on the cards, according to a senior Pakistani official.
"The ferry will provide a convenient link for passengers from Mumbai to Dubai via Karachi," said Anwar Shah, Director General of Pakistan Ports and Shipping.
He told the Gulf News daily that the Pakistan government has already given approval for the service after completing formalities and "is waiting for a response from the Indian government."
Shah said that a luxury ferry service between Karachi and Dubai has been approved and will take off on November 2.
He said the Pakistan government is encouraging private operators to run the ferry service. "We have already awarded licences to five operators and Gulf Dream Cruise will be the first to operate its cruise in November," he said.
Gulf Dream Cruise will run a weekly ferry service between Dubai and Karachi. The ship will take two days to travel from Karachi to Dubai. It will dock in Dubai for a day and then return to Karachi. Passengers will be able to take a one-way trip as well.
Shah said that the regular ferry for fast transfer of passengers between the two countries is not feasible because the airfare is quite cheap between Karachi and Dubai.
Also, expatriates living in the UAE don't want to spend days on the ship when they go on annual leave to their country. Shah said the service would be extended to other Gulf countries such as Bahrain, Oman and Qatar in the coming years.