KARACHI: The Infrastructure Project Development Facility (IPDF) of the finance ministry will launch a freight and cargo train service for the private sector in collaboration with Pakistan Railways by mid-2013.
In this connection, the IPDF finalised a plan worth $320 million for countrywide logistical movement of oil, coal, cement, container cargo, and automobiles. The participants of the 2nd International Shipping, Logistics and Supply Chain Management Conference and Exhibition 2012 were informed by the chief executive of IPDF Adil Anwar.
The moot was jointly organised by the Publicity Channel and Pakistan International Freight Forwarding Association at a local hotel.
The attendees were told that logistics and shipping sectors of the country had been facing several challenges and its growth had been hampered in the last 60 years due to numerous factors including apathetic attitude of government authorities, shortage of resources, skilled manpower, and latest technological aides related to the sectors.
Anwar said under the freight service train plan, a commodity train service will be launched at a cost of $40 million, which will enable Pakistan Railways to earn Rs7.8 billion on an annual basis while Railways’ earnings could reach up to Rs158 billion in 20 years. In this connection, the agreement will be finalised with prospective private sector organisations till next week.
Trustee of the Karachi Port Trust Muhammad Rajpar said the government should provide an enabling environment for promotion of the logistics sector of the country. The people associated with logistics sector had to run from pillar to post in six ministries and government departments to get issues resolved related to their businesses so a consolidated ministry should be formed for facilitating business people of the logistics sector.
He said the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation has been engaged in lifting and shipment of just 15% of the country’s cargo and for handling the rest of the 85%, entrepreneurs and investors in the private sector should come forward and devise and propose a long- and short- term strategy for promotion the maritime and the shipping sector.
In his keynote address the chief guest at the inaugural session of the conference, president of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Haji Fazil Kadir Sherani urged the government to urgently upgrade transportation and road infrastructure of the country and freight-forwarding sector of Pakistan should be given status of a national-level industry.
Sherani said that government authorities concerned should do their best to overcome the shortage of people properly trained with professional qualifications and skills to handle various aspects of logistics and shipping business.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2012.