The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is considered a roadmap for Pakistan to achieve its prosperity and development goals. Under the umbrella of CPEC, many projects in the transportation and energy sectors have been introduced, which are either completed or in stages of completion. ML-1 or Main Line-1, is also one of those projects and is considered the most significant one to revamp the major railway tracks in the country with a view to reviving the sagging railways’ infrastructure and putting it back on track to achieve its past glory.
Under the project, the railway track between Karachi and Peshawar and up to Havelian will be upgraded and dualised. In addition, the trains’ speed will be increased from 65km and 105km to 120km and 160km per hour, respectively. The ML-1 is declared a strategic project with an overall track of 1733 kilometres to improve trade between Pakistan and China, among the regional states as well. The construction process of this project includes underpasses, flyovers, and bridges to improve the country’s transportation system and benefit the landlocked Central Asian countries through land route linkages. Also, a dry port will be constructed in Havelian tehsil of the Haripur district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which will help promote trade, safe storage and handling of goods containers.
The total cost of the project is around $9.8 billion. It is considered a revolutionary project that has the potential to become the centre of business activity and a source of livelihood for tens of thousands of people. The project is estimated to create job opportunities for 24,000 people. It has great significance in providing connectivity between Gwadar and Kashgar through a train line that will provide the easiest and safest way to transport oil between China and the Middle East.