ISLAMABAD (APP) - The Planning Commission has constituted a task force on Maritime Industry with Naeem Sarfraz as its Chairman. A notification issued by the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali, APP has learnt reliably. The task force has been entrusted to propose appropriate amendments in the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 2001 and any other relevant legislation to make it suitable for the 21st century maritime industry. It will make recommendations on procurement of ships in the private sector in order to substantially reduce foreign exchange freight bill. It also aims to build capacity of all sectors supporting ship activities in ports, deepen navigable channels, develop private terminals, ship building, ship repair, container manufacture and repair, survey facilities, etc at all ports in Pakistan. Besides Naeem Sarfraz, the Chairman Task Force, Justice (R) Shaiq Usmani, Dr. Zia Rizvi, Mohammed A Rajpar, Capt. Changez Khan Niazi, Rear Admiral Arshad Munir would be members of the task force while Secretary, Ministry of Ports and Shipping, and Chief of Transport and Communications, Planning Commission, would be ex- officio members of the body. The draft bill would be prepared within 90 days for putting up to Parliament. The plan aims at implementing the procure ships in the private sector which will substantially reduce foreign exchange freight bill by approximately $4billion annually. The Task Force may induct additional members, as it considers appropriate, and keep the Planning Commission on the progress of its deliberations while Planning Commission would be Secretariat of the Task Force. The objectives of the task force are to deepen navigable channels in all ports to 16.5 meters or more to handle modem vessels; building capacity of all sectors supporting ship activities in ports, including navigational aids, tugs, dredgers, shore cranes, bunkers, water, power, manpower, customs, immigration, security, environment issues; developing private terminals, ship building, ship repair, container manufacture and repair, survey facilities in all three ports; creating an enabling environment in Gwadar for handling transshipment and transit cargos to realize the full potential of this national asset; expanding the capacity of Karachi and Port Qasim in keeping with national economic goals of the 21st century; developing three pilot projects of inland waterways in cooperation with provincial governments. Moreover, encouraging Direct Foreign Investment, Private- Public Partnership and commercial financing instead of enhancing foreign loans; Proposing a Federal Maritime Commission for sustained development of the sector; promoting the tapping of natural resources along the coast and in Pakistan's maritime Exclusive Economic Zone; and proposing amendments in relevant laws and rules for promotion of above aims are also include the objectives of the task force.