Resumption of ECO ITI (Islamabad – Tehran – Istanbul) Cargo Train

The long awaited ITI Cargo Train finally got its way towards Turkey transiting through the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the 6560 Km railway corridor. The ITI train resumed its operation in the presence of H.E Mr. Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, along with H.E. Mr. Azam Khan Swati, Minister for Railways, H.E Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, distinguished Ambassadors of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Turkey, Republic of Tajikistan and Republic of Kazakhstan as well as Representatives of the private sectors during a ceremony held in Islamabad on December 21, 2021.

The honorable Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan appreciated the resumption of ITI freight train, believing that the service would play an important role, not only to enhance regional connectivity, but also for the promotion of economic and commercial activities in the ECO Region.

The ECO’s Director for Transport and Communication, Mr. Akbar Khodaei, who is also coordinating the Project, said that the potential of ITI train, a single rail connection between Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, is yet to be realized. He noted that this train would offer Pakistan the opportunity to start crucial export activity and establish connection with international markets. While Iran could become an important trans-shipment and transit location for international trade, this cargo service would be providing Turkey an opportunity to further develop its natural role as a bridge between Asia and Europe, he considered, adding that the ECO-ITI has the capacity to open a new transit route from China to Europe and ensure a sustainable income source for the en-route countries. He also mentioned that as per the comprehensive study conducted by the ECO Secretariat on this strategic corridor, multi-modal transportation could further maximize the load-capacity of the train on the corridor by mobilizing cargo from multiple sources that yet to be connected to the railway network.

Mr. Khodaei said that as per latest information, the train would arrive at Zahedan Station passing 6-7 days inside the territories of Pakistan. He expressed pleasure over the collaborative and receptive atmosphere prevailing among the project’s stakeholders who work together within the ECO’s framework for realization of the dreams of regional connectivity and shared economic prosperity of the Member States.

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