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High Level Working Group met to discuss ECO Container Train route

Lahore : The 9th High Level Working Group (HLWG) Meeting of the ECO Container Train on Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) route was held in Islamabad.

It is attended by delegates from Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, IDB and ECO secretariat. The report of the meeting was drafted by representatives from Pakistan, Turkey and Iran. The resolution by Afghanistan to cooperate in the ITI Container Train is the principal accomplishment of this meeting.

Ahsan Ali Mangi ,Deputy Secretary general ,ECO Secretariat expressed sincere thanks to Ministry of Railways, Pakistan. He 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.

Ms. Parveen Agha, Secretary, Ministry of Railways, Pakistan is elected as Chairperson of the meeting.

President of ECO Trade Development Bank (ECO TDB) Javed Aslam, is a must for having a firm time table from Islamabad to Istanbul and vice versa. He also said that there is need to think beyond the ITI Container Train, notably about passenger Train service as well.IDB supports and encourages the regional cooperation/integration among its 57 member countries. The bank has recently approved 10 years Strategy Framework where a special focus is given to regional cooperation among its member countries’ connectivity between members.

It is also agreed in the meeting that the total travel time of the ECO Container Train from Hayadarpas to Istanbul will be at 15.5 days. Through altering the route in Pakistan, the period in Pakistan will be reduced from 8.5 days to 6 days.

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 the efficiency of corridor benefitting from the presence  of the representatives of IDB and ECO TDB.

According to the report the meeting proposed the ECO Secretariat may conduct a commercial (Business Study) on ITI Rail Corridor including indicative commercial tariffs for the route.

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