Committee constituted to enhance cargo, container transportation through rail service

Committee constituted to enhance cargo, container transportation through rail service

KARACHI – Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the Minister for Pakistan Railways, led a delegation to the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) head office on Friday to explore opportunities for enhancing cargo transportation through rail services.

Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi and KPT Chairman Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar warmly welcomed the delegation, signaling a collaborative effort to improve the efficiency of cargo movement.

The meeting, initiated by the Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, aimed to harness the potential of railway services for the transportation of cargo and containers from Karachi Port. The current mode of cargo transportation heavily relies on trucks and trailers, prompting the need for diversification and optimization of transportation channels.

The Pakistan Railways delegation, comprising subject matter experts such as Chief Executive Officer Aftab Akbar, DS Railways Syed Mazhar Ali Shah, Additional General Manager Aijaz Ahmed Bariro, and Manager Imtiaz, engaged in a comprehensive briefing. The presentation provided an overview of port parameters, highlighting the present and future cargo handling capacity of KPT.

Federal Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed expressed keen interest in leveraging the cargo lifting opportunities arising from ongoing and future port capacity and capability upgrading projects. Notable projects such as the Freight Corridor, Bulk Cargo Terminal, Special Economic Zone, and LNG Complex were acknowledged for their potential impact on cargo handling.

To facilitate effective collaboration, a high-level executive committee consisting of representatives from KPT and Pakistan Railways was established. The committee is tasked with reviewing the present capacity and proposing strategies for enhancing the freight percentage handled by Pakistan Railways, aligning with recommendations from studies conducted by entities like the World Bank.

Federal Ministers Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Syed Ali Haider Zaidi jointly decided to closely monitor the progress of the executive committee on a fortnightly basis, emphasizing the commitment to swift and effective collaboration.

Chairman KPT, Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar, pledged absolute support for upgrading the railway infrastructure within the port premises to ensure efficient handling of locomotives and wagons. In principle, a memorandum of understanding between KPT and Pakistan Railways was agreed upon, focusing on the repair and maintenance of rail tracks and associated structures by the engineering experts of Pakistan Railways.

The delegation also conducted a visit to the port area, where Federal Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed praised the port operations. He acknowledged the Karachi Port Trust’s significant contribution to the country’s economy and trade activities.

The collaborative efforts between Pakistan Railways and Karachi Port Trust signify a strategic move towards enhancing the efficiency, capacity, and overall effectiveness of cargo transportation, aligning with the broader goals of economic development and trade facilitation in the region.