Pakistan keen on developing rail network for transit trade: minister

Source:  Dawn.com Published in Business & Economy on Thursday, May 12, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir has said that Pakistan is interested in laying new railway tracks and refurbishing existing routes for direct and transit trade with Afghanistan and Iran.

Speaking to a business delegation from South Africa on Wednesday, the minister said his government is considering railway tracks as trade corridors because they would play a vital role in boosting Pakistan’s exports and facilitate transit trade.

The South African delegation was led by Willem Goosen of Grindrod Rail, Multi-Continent Investment Company. He was accompanied by Asfhaq Anwar, a Pakistani businessman in South Africa.

“We will also establish a modern rail-link from Gwadar Port to up-country and further to Afghanistan for transit trade,” he said. “Refurbishing existing rail infrastructure for trade with Iran is also under consideration as trade ties with Iran are getting stronger.”

He said that the government is utilising substantial resources in meeting power generation demands of the industrial sector. For this purpose, he added, construction work on power plants including the Sahiwal Coal-fired Power Plant is underway at a fast pace. “We shall ensure smooth supply of imported raw input for the Sahiwal plant through the rail route,” he said.