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Monday June 17, 2024

Railways urged to resume cargo train service

By Bureau report
December 02, 2023

PESHAWAR: The businessmen community representatives have demanded the restoration of the cargo train service between Peshawar and Karachi to facilitate imports and exports.

“The export cargo train service from the Peshawar dry port has been suspended for the last 20 years. All the export goods are transported in trucks from Peshawar to Karachi which entails a high cost to businessmen,” said Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi, chairman of the Standing Committee of Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Railways and Dry port, as he met the new Divisional Superintendent (DS) of Railways Peshawar, Masood Ahmad Jan to apprise him of difficulties being faced by business community especially exporters and importers.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry building in Peshawar. — Website/Committee of Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry/File
Chamber of Commerce and Industry building in Peshawar. — Website/Committee of Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry/File

Sarhadi, who is also coordinator for the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, greeted the DS and hoped that he would give special attention to resolution of issues pertaining to the business community of the province as he himself hailed from Peshawar.

He remained Railways official that at time of inauguration of Azakhel Dryport, the business community were assured an export cargo train service would be re-resumed for the transportation of goods between Karachi and Peshawar and One Window operation launched at the dryport.

“The cargo train which would have provided much facilities to businessmen dealing in imports and exports to transport transit goods from and to port city to Peshawar, could not be launched even after years”, Sarhadi pointed out. He added that all export goods are transported in trucks from Peshawar to Karachi.

Sarhadi said KP was blessed with numerous natural resources like gems, marbles, granite and other items like handicraft, carpet, honey and match sticks.

“All these items should have been transported from Peshawar to Karachi for onward export in cargo trains from Azakhel dry port instead of trucks”, he added.

He lamented that the Azakhel dryport was almost non-functional due to which more

than 250 customs clearing agents in KP were still idle, depriving them of the source of earning for families.

Sahadi pointed out that due to the launching of the cargo train, Pakistan Railways could generate revenue under the head of transportation charges of export import goods from one end of the country to the other.

He said a large portion of Afghan Transit trade business had been shifted to Bandar Abbas seaport in Iran due to non-functioning of the cargo train and heavy transportation charges of trucks.

Though Sarhadi appreciated decision taken by Pakistan Railways on the revival of Awam Express Train from December 20, for passengers travelling between Peshawar to Karachi, he demanded restoration of services of both Khushal Khan Khattak train and Railway car besides increasing number of sleepers in Khyber Mail train. He also demanded the establishment of a Merchant Room for clearing agents at Azha Khel Dry Port, allowing them to work with ease.

DS Railways Masood Jan held out an assurance to Ziaul Haq Sarhadi to resolve problems faced by the KP business community.