ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Railways would engage private partnership to invest in freight operations to extract more revenues and bring efficiency in freight logistics, said caretaker Minister for Railways Mansoor Tariq. Taking to a delegation of National Logistic Cell (NLC) and a Dubai based business group, he said that NLC in joint collaboration with the Dubai based group has offered Pakistan Railways to operate their own container coaches between Karachi and Lahore in cargo operations.
The Minister urged the delegation to avail the Open Track Policy initiated by Pakistan Railways where the private parties can operate their own rolling stock while paying track access charges to Railways. He also pushed the delegation for getting these container wagons manufactured at Pakistan Carriage Factory, Islamabad and Mughalpora Workshop, Lahore. This would not only save the foreign exchange but also provide financial gains to Railways which is already involved in manufacturing of such wagons at international standards, the Minister said.
He said that introduction of private partnership into the freight logistics, Pakistan Railways would be able to bring efficiency and promptness in such business activities. As the economy has grown tremendously over the last decade due to consistent and business friendly policies of the government, there is dire need to expand this network of freight handling, he added.
He said that despite making holistic efforts by Pakistan Railways over the last few years, it could manage to handle only four percent of the total freight business activity. The scope is tremendous and opportunities for growth are unlimited as Pakistan is becoming a business hub between Europe, Central and Middle East in the coming years, he said. This volume of business can be doubled in no time as there is great demand from the business community of Pakistan to increase the no of fast cargo wagons from Karachi downwards, he added.
The Minister said that a number of steps have recently been taken to improve the performance of freight segment in Pakistan Railways. High capacity express container trains have been introduced, which operates daily between Karachi and Lahore.-SANA