Afghanistan agree to cooperate in Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul container train

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ISLAMABAD: The 9th High Level Working Group Meeting of the ECO Container Train on Thursday expressed satisfaction on a resolution by Afghanistan to cooperate in Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul container train.
“The resolution by Afghanistan to cooperate in the ITI Container Train is the principal accomplishment of the 9th High Level Working Group (HLWG) Meeting of the ECO Container Train on Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) route,” stated the metting’s finding on the matter.
The meeting held here was attended by delegates from Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, IDB and ECO secretariat. Its report was drafted by representatives from Pakistan, Turkey and Iran.
Ahsan Ali Mangi, Deputy Secretary General ECO Secretariat shared the latest progress about commercialization of ECO Kazakhastan, Turkmenistan and Iran (KTI) railway corridor with the support of en route countries and hoped this model is also replicated for ECO ITI rail corridor.
He said there is also need to think beyond the ITI Container Train, notably about passenger Train service as IDB supports and encourages the regional cooperation and integration among its 57 member countries.
Parveen Agha, Secretary, Ministry of Railways, Pakistan is elected as Chairperson of the meeting while President of ECO Trade Development Bank (ECO TDB) Javed Aslam would be putting in efforts for creating a consotium for completion of Pakistani portion of rail route.
In this regard Islamic development Bank would also be contacted as it has recently approved 10 years Strategy Framework where a special focus is given to regional cooperation among its member countries’ connectivity between members.
It was also agreed at the meeting that total travel time of the ECO Container Train from Hayadarpas to Istanbul will be 15.5 days. While through alteration in route within Pakistan, the period in Pakistan will be reduced from 8.5 days to 6 days.
It has been learnt that Afghanistan had agreed to benefit from this train route in its transit trade through Pakistan. Earlier, Afghan transit trade was being done through Karachi port but completion of this project would facilitate Afghanistan with another trade route.
The meeting discussed the infrastructure improvement requirements as well as possibility of a “Corridor Management Mechanism” through harmonization of processes and documentation between the agencies of the three countries to improve efficiency of corridor benefitting from presence of the representatives of IDB and
ECO TDB.
The meeting has also proposed that the ECO Secretariat may conduct a commercial (Business Study) on ITI Rail Corridor including indicative commercial tariffs for the route.– APP

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