Lahore : Chinese Railway Eryuan Corporation (CREEC) team headed by its Vice President Mr Xhao met CEO Pakistan Railways Humayun Rashid and leader CPEC project Pakistan Railways, Ashfaq Khattak and other concerned officers on realization of up gradation of ML-I rail track from Karachi to Peshawar.
Pakistan Railways has been associated with the Chinese consultants’ team for more than a year for the project of up gradation of Main Line-I which is 1850 km long existing track that runs from Karachi to Peshawar connecting most populated areas of Pakistan.
This project is of strategic and vital importance rather strategically most significant project under CPEC framework as the 70 percent of traffic of Pakistan Railways flows through it.
The Chinese team was told by Project leader that under the vision 2025 set up by Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Railways is supposed to increase its share in both cargo and passenger transportation sector up to roughly 20-25 percent which is at present not more than 4 percent. Currently Pakistan Railways carries 5-6 million cargo and 55-60 million passengers in one year.
To achieve the given target there is no other way but to upgrade the major carrier of this load that is ML1. Pakistan Railways has competent engineers and officers who along with Chinese consultants have conducted a joint survey for traffic forecast and economic/ financial viability of this project.
The forecast was kept modest at first and it was cross verified by the international organizations like ADB and World Bank, according to the experts survey Pakistan Railways traffic share after up gradation is likely to surge to 80-90 million passengers per year besides 20-25 million tonnes of cargo.
Interestingly this forecast doesn’t include the cargo traffic coming from China or any other country of the region, which if added supported by regional connectivity will tremendously add to this calculation.
There is no doubt about the potential of transportation in Pakistan and this project which is bound to give speed and strength to country’s life line is both economically and financially viable, it will not only open new avenues for economic activities in Pakistan but is fully capable to repay the loan offered by our friend China.
We look forward a better future of Pakistan linked with this track and CPEC on whole.