Iran, Pakistan launch freight train service

Iran, Pakistan launch freight train service

HomeIranEconomy Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:12AM

Iran and Pakistan have inaugurated a freight train service, which will carry goods from the Iranian southeastern city of Zahedan to the city of Quetta in Pakistan.

During the ceremony, which was held on Saturday, Iran’s Director General of Southeast Railroads Mostafa Davoudi told reporters that the original plan to launch the railroad was made during a meeting between the managing director of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways and his Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of a meeting among the railroads officials of the member states of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in Tehran.

“One of the problems that had caused trouble for Iranian businesspeople was lack of a clear schedule for Pakistani trains that carried goods” to the city of Zahedan in southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan, he said.

Davoudi noted that one of the advantages of the new railroad is setting a clear schedule for the freight trains shuttling between Zahedan and Quetta, adding, “From now on, freight trains from Pakistan arrive in Zahedan every Saturday and leave Zahedan for Quetta every Monday.”

The official added that according to the agreement between the two countries, a 10-30-percent discount has been considered on the transport of goods between the two cities.

Zahedan is the capital city of Iran’s southeastern Sistan and Baluchestan Province while Quetta is the capital city of Pakistan’s Balochistan Province.

The Iranian city of Zahedan sits along major transit corridors and development of the railroad network that will connect it to the northeastern city of Mashhad, on the one hand, and to the southeastern port city of Chabahar and southern port city of Bandar Abbas, on the other hand, will greatly facilitate transport of commodities from Central Asia to free waters of the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean.

The inauguration of the freight train service came on the dame day that an official of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways said countries in Central Asia are mulling a plan to use Iran’s railroad network as transit route for bulk cargoes.

Speaking to Iranian media on Saturday, Hossein Ashouri, deputy head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways, said the Central Asian countries have plans to carry various kinds of bulk and container cargoes from the Inchehboroun border crossing in Iran’s northern Golestan Province to southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas.

Earlier in March, Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Ne’matzadeh said Iran is planning to spend up to USD 8 billion over the next six years to revamp and expand its railway network.

He added that the country needs to invest USD 1.5 billion a year in the sector during the next six years as part of the Islamic Republic’s Vision Plan.

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