After a 10-year interval, the cargo train service between Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey has been resumed to boost trade activities between the countries. This train completes the journey between the three countries within 14 days, a much faster and affordable way than the alternate sea route. The train departs from Islamabad to Europe’s largest city with dozens of containers.
It is known as the ITI cargo train, the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul cargo train which was started in 2009 but suspended in 2011 due to several administrative issues in the Pakistan Ministry of Railway. The suspension had caused the cancellation of hundreds of tons of goods booked for Pakistan.
The railway project aims to strengthen communication and interaction between the three countries, providing access to important markets and creating a positive environment for the business world. It will prove to be a source of increasing Pakistan’s foreign trade investment by diversifying Pakistani products in the region and beyond. The ITI transnational railroad will provide a source of Chinese investment in Pakistan and Iran as it connects with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
This railway project will improve bilateral cooperation and bolster economic and commercial exchanges between the countries. However, the Government should expand this railway link to other parts of Europe and start a passenger train also to further enhance regional connectivity and economic integration.