Islamabad-Istanbul container train service: Gilani launches trial phase of project
ISLAMABAD, Aug 14: The Islamabad-Istanbul container train service would lead to integration of Pakistan’s railway tracks into the region’s network and opening up of a trade corridor between Europe on the one hand and South and Central Asia on the other, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said at the launch of project’s trial phase here on Friday.
The first train would cover 6,500 kilometres via Tehran in two weeks, carrying 20 containers — 14 for Iran and six for Turkey.
Mr Gilani recalled that the transit trade framework agreement signed on March 15 this year in Islamabad by ECO member states called for improving transit traffic to foster efficient movement of goods and passengers.
He said that under the project Pakistan Railways would be rehabilitating the main railway line, including the Quetta-Taftan section, adding that a feasibility study had already been completed.
“Upgradation would require … $500 million for the train to run at a speed of 140km per hour for optimum operational efficiency,” he said, adding that rehabilitation of the network in Pakistan required international financial support.
Minister for Railways Ghulam Ahmed Bilour said that government officials and chambers of commerce needed to cooperate in order to create an enabling environment for increasing regional trade.
He said that once the trial phase of the container service ended successfully, a passenger service would be launched in an effort to boost tourism in the region.
The prime minister also held a meeting with Mohammad Yahya Maroofi, the secretary-general of ECO, at the PM House.
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