Pakistan, Turkey and Iran plan rail container service
The railways of Pakistan, Iran and Turkey will operate a demonstration container train on 14 August this year
“We want to make it a ceremonial occasion to launch the container train service from Islamabad on Pakistan National day falling on August 14 while Turkey is pressing its launch from their end”, said Pakistan Railways’ General Manager (Operations) Saeed Akhtar after his visit to Tehran and Istanbul.
“Even if it starts from Istanbul we have told them that the train should reach Islamabad on August 14”. |He hopes that the first train “will carry at least 40 containers.”
Concerning customs facilities and technical, administrative and security issues, Akhtar said that it has been decided to sort out these issues at a meeting to be held later this month, as representatives of customs and other departments from the three countries will participate.
The Iranians have completed the track between Zahidan and Kirman and it has been linked up with the Pakistani side of the railway. Turkey and Iran already have a cross-border railway link Akhtar believes that the new service will be of great advantage to the business community in all three countries.
Currently traders use European ports to send and receive their shipments to/from Turkey and this is very expensive, while shipments between Pakistan and Iran are routed through UAE ports, as a result of international economic sanctions on Iran due to its controversial nuclear programme.
Around 10,000 containers/year would be transported if the three countries are able and willing to make it a regular service.