ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad has expressed willingness to hand over the affairs of Islamabad dry port to the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on a public-private partnership basis to facilitate the business community in improving trade activities.
Addressing a delegation of the ICCI on Tuesday, the minister said the chamber should submit a comprehensive proposal for this purpose so that it could be considered for implementation.
He said that Pakistan Railways has already handed over the dry ports of Karachi and Lahore to the private sector and was ready to handover the one in Islamabad to ICCI for provision of better services to the business community.
“Pakistan Railway will also improve its cargo train service to facilitate business community in transportation of goods.”
He assured the delegation that all possible measures would be taken to resolve railways related concerns of businessmen.
Also speaking at the occasion, ICCI President Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that following the introduction of the axle road regime, the freight of goods transportation via trucks has increased by Rs1,500 to 2,000 per ton, which has led to a significant rise in the cost of doing business. He stressed that the Pakistan Railways should improve its cargo train service so that the business community could use cargo trains as preferred mode for transportation of goods.
He also highlighted various issues that required attention of the railways minister.
Other chamber officials present on the occasion were of the view that the standard of cargo train service has deteriorated due to which traders have shifted towards road transportation.
They said that railways was still the cheapest means of goods transportation in the world and stressed that Pakistan Railways should improve its cargo train service on modern lines so it could play an effective role in promoting business activities.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2019.