A direct shipping route between Pakistan and Russia is being inaugurated for the first time, signaling a shift in bilateral trade between the two countries.
Dr. Musadik Malik, Minister of State for Petroleum, and Russian authorities attended the launching ceremony of the direct containerized shipping service between Karachi and Saint Petersburg ports.
In his address to the gathering, Federal Energy Minister Khurram Dastagir stated that bilateral commercial relations between Pakistan and Russia are growing, with tangible growth in trade.
“The Russian economy is five times larger than Pakistan’s in terms of GDP.” “We are seeking a comprehensive free trade agreement,” added the minister. “We are lowering tariffs and encouraging investment,” stated Khurram Dastagir.
He stated that there are several economic prospects, with the potential to increase bilateral trade to USD$20 billion.
According to experts, the inauguration of shipping services will transform economic relations between the two countries, creating enormous business opportunities and the possibility for bilateral trade to reach US$20 billion.
The direct cargo service will cut shipment time in half, from a month to 18 days. The first ship will arrive in Karachi today, while the second direct ship will arrive on May 29.
Pakistan’s exports to Russia currently total USD$150 million, while imports are roughly USD$300 million. However, it is expected that the establishment of this direct shipping service will increase Pakistani exports to Russia by USD$2.5 billion in the future years.