ISLAMABAD (WEB DESK)
Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that Pakistan Railways can play a key role in the development of the economy and stressed that the government should focus on revival of railways to revive the economy. He said that the Pakistan Railways, once a much cheaper and effective source of transportation of goods, has lost its competitiveness to road transport, and now handles only about six per cent of the freight traffic. He urged that Pakistan Railways should improve the quality of its cargo service and work with the private sector to increase its share of freight traffic in the short term to at least 20 percent that would help its better growth. He said this while talking to Saqib Iqbal Butt, Senior Superintendent Goods, Pakistan Railways, Islamabad Dry Port during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari said that railways should establish bonded and non-bonded warehouses, stocking, storage & loading/unloading facilities in Islamabad in consultation with ICCI to facilitate the business community in import and export of goods. He said that Pakistan can reduce USD 5 billion in oil import bill by developing Pakistan Railways. He further said that Pakistan can also pay all debt of the country by selling lands of Pakistan Railways.
Speaking on the occasion, Saqib Iqbal Butt, Senior Superintendent Goods, Pakistan Railways, Islamabad Dry port said that Pakistan Railways is ready to provide cargo service to the business community as per their needs. He said that new cargo coaches will reach Pakistan soon from China that would provide better freight service to the private sector. He said that Pakistan Railways need the support of the private sector to improve its share of cargo service and said that the business community should work with Pakistan Railways for transportation of goods that would help its revival.
Faad Waheed, Senior Vice President ICCI said that the business community is ready to construct stocking sheds on BOT basis in Islamabad to stock imported goods and railways should facilitate them in this regard.
Zafar Bakhtawari, Secretary General UBG said that Pakistan Railways should extend its rail network to Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia that would help Pakistan to improve trade and exports with these countries.