Pakistan Railways launches the first ever dedicated freight train
Pakistan Railways has launched first ever dedicated freight train loaded with 75 cargo containers.
The freight train commenced its journey from Karachi. Its journey will start from Karachi’s Cantonment Railway Station to Lahore.
Inauguration of the Freight Train:
The freight train has been launched under a public-private partnership with the expected journey time of 48 hours.
Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, the Federal Minister for Railways, inaugurated the service. Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and AleemAdilSheikh were also present at the inauguration ceremony.
While inaugurating, the Minister said that he is optimistic about the dedicated and freight train service for cargo transport.
While speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Sheikh said:
“Unfortunately, when I took over the Pakistan Railways after a gap of 14 years, I didn’t witness any change. There was a loss of Rs5 billion with whooping fuel oil bill of Rs18billion and loans worth Rs25billion.”
Dedicated and scheduled cargo train services will improve global competitiveness, help reduce the cost of doing business and reduce pollution.
Annually, Pakistan Railways will earn Rs3.5billion from this service. Moreover, three more daily freight trains, if launched, will increase the Pakistan Railways’ annual revenue by 14billionn.
Scales of Railway workers will be upgraded – Federal Minister
The minister announced that once the financial constraints of Pakistan Railways are reduced, he will upgrade the scales of all railway workers.
Developing Karachi-Peshawar double railway track:
The minister said that Pakistan Railway is going to develop Karachi-Peshawar double railway track or ML-1.
It is exploring investment from Chinese, built-operate-transfer and joint venture. However, the final decision will be taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan before March 23rd, 2019.
First scheduled cargo train service in Pakistan:
This is the first scheduled cargo train service in Pakistan. It will improve supply chain management in cross-border trade, cut freight cost and transportation time significantly.
Each cargo train will have a capacity of carrying 75-80 containers of 20 feet each. It will generate revenue of around Rs2.4 million.
Reduction of freight charges:
With the launch of this dedicated freight train, freight charges will be reduced by 15-20% per container. It will also reduce transportation time to around two days.
Reduced transportation time:
The reduced transportation time will address growing cargo congestion at seaports, ease traffic on roads, cut the cost of road maintenance and control pollution.
The number of Freight trains:
Presently, the number of cargo trains is 5 but at the end of next month (January 25th), the number of cargo trains will be doubled to 10. Later, a maximum of 20 trains will be run in March.
The train will run between Karachi (Karachi Port and Port Qasim) and Lahore (Prem Nagar Dry Port). Later, it will also make a stopover at dry ports in Multan, Faisalabad, and Sialkot.
Expressing gratitude to Chief Justice Pakistan:
The railway minister, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, expressed his gratitude and thanked the Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar for taking abrupt and decisive action against land grabbers.
Two more freight trains to be launched soon:
The Minister vowed to launch two more dedicated freight daily trains for containers from Karachi to Lahore from Jan 25th.
Freight trains from Karachi to Faisalabad and Sialkot:
The Minister announced that in the coming months, scheduled freight trains from Karachi to Faisalabad and Sialkot would also be launched.
Further, he said that hat non-container trains for other cargoes would also be launched and that will help country’s ports.
The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has done a lot of remarkable efforts for the betterment of Pakistan Railways.
Twenty new trains will be launched next year and also, the number of freight trains will be increased by the end of next year.
In the coming five years, Pakistan Railways will upgrade its track from Karachi to Peshawar via Lahore and this will attract billions of dollars in investment for its 100-year-old infrastructure.