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PESHAWAR: Chairman, Railways/Dryport Standing Committee of Sarhad Chamber Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Peshawar, Ziaul Haq Sarhadi here Thursday said Pakistan Railways dry port at Azakhel in district Nowshera was situated in important location and urged the government to make it functional to bolster exports.

He said its function would greatly help facilitate Pak-Afghan trade, generate employment opportunities and promote business as well as industrialisation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with its close to CPEC route.

Talking a group of reporters here on Sunday, Ziaul Haq Sarhadi said that about Rs600 million were spent on Azakhel dry port established on 28 acres land in Nowshera district on main GT Road and its full operationalisation would enable KP investors to showcase their products at local and international markets. He said that KP’s was blessed with an abundance of natural resources including gems, marble, honey, carpet and furniture and Pakistan’s economic issues could be addressed if these resources were fully tapped by exploring new markets and granting incentives to its traders.

KP is exporting items like furniture, mineral, marbles, matches and honey but exporters were facing lots of problems owing to lack of bonded carriers in Peshawar to carry the exported goods to Karachi port for onward destinations.

At the time of its inauguration by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the businessmen were assured that one window operation service would be provided besides other modern facilities at the new dry port and a special export cargo train would be started between Peshawar and Karachi.

Zaiul Haq Sarhadi, who is also the President of Frontier Customs Agents Association (FCAA) said that Azakhel dry port was located near Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway, Rashaki Special Economic Zone and Bacha Khan International Airport, which could prove a game-changer to increase trade volume among Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asians Republics (CARs).

He said former Chief Minister Sardar Mehtab Abbasi has announced Rs20 million for Azakhel dry port, however, after his government the project was put into cold storage by the successive previous governments. He said Pakistan Railways can earn up to Rs 5 billion per year from trade after operationalisation of Azakhel dry port. He said coal trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan has increased in recent years and there was a need to jack up its volume between the two countries especially in gems, marble, honey, carpet and furniture sectors for mutual benefits. Due to wrong policies of the past government, he said the countries could not take advantage of this wealth.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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