A freight train service was inaugurated in Islamabad with an aim to boost trade between Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, Dawn reported.
Pakistan Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati along with Pak Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Adviser to the Pak Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, inaugurated the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) freight train at Margalla railway station. Ambassadors of Turkey, Iran, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan were also present on the occasion.
The freight train service will play a vital role in improving the economies and lives of citizens of ECO member states by maximising economic efficiency and reducing the cost of doing business, the report said.
Pak Railways Minister Swati highlighted the importance of ITI freight trains and said this service would open doors for business and connectivity in the region. “The passenger train service will also start soon,” he said, adding: “We have opened our trade routes and it is a great opportunity for importers and exporters.”
Pak Foreign Minister Qureshi appreciated the resumption of ITI freight train and said the service would play an important role in regional connectivity and promoting economic activity in the region.
Turkish Ambassador Mustafa Yurdakul expressed the hope that the train service would not stop at Istanbul only but go all the way to Europe which would benefit all regional countries as the economies bounced back in the post-Covid era, the report said.
ITI freight train will be operated regularly on Tuesday of every week. The freight train had nine wagons initially, said a senior railway official.
As per present arrangement to start the train and the schedule agreed jointly by Turkey, Iran and Pakistan, the running time between Drence-Kapikoy (Istanbul) and Zahidan-Tabraiz (Iran) will be 90 hours each. From Zahidan to Islamabad, the train would take 135.5 hours.