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ISLAMABAD: Following the signing of two separate government-to-government (G2G) agreements in Davos at the World Economic Forum, the governments of Pakistan and Dubai have started discussions on investments in railway infrastructure, terminal development, and other areas of mutual interest, Federal Secretary Pakistan Railways (PR) Syed Mazhar Ali Shah said.

The governments of Pakistan and Dubai two weeks ago during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland signed two inter-governmental framework agreements, eyeing an investment of over USD 3 billion, encompassing cooperation in railways, economic zones, and infrastructure.

The secretary while taking to the X formerly (Twitter) said, “Exciting developments ahead! Following the Government to Government (G2G) Framework Agreement between Pakistan and Dubai, discussions have commenced on investments in railway infrastructure, terminal development, and other areas of mutual interest.”

He added: “These investments are crucial for providing reliable, efficient, cost-effective, and eco-friendly transport services, not just in Pakistan but beyond. This collaboration marks a significant step towards enhancing connectivity and economic growth.” The secretary said that the PR was also working on the following five key areas to enhance freight services in railways: (i) Invest in infrastructure and rolling stock; (ii) Implement tracking and scheduling systems; (iii) Optimize routes for efficiency; (iv) Foster public-private partnerships; and (v) Regularly train staff for improved service quality.

He further said that the PR’s mission is to revolutionize services and infrastructure by engaging private participation and investments in the following key areas: enhancing passenger services, solarizing railway system, commercializing land, outsourcing production facilities and maintenance services. This strategic move is aimed at boosting efficiency and sustainability.

The Pakistan and Dubai collaboration is aimed at enhancing various sectors, including the development of a dedicated freight corridor, a multi-modal logistics park, and freight terminals. DP World, representing the Dubai government, will spearhead infrastructure improvements at Qasim International Container Terminal, Pakistan’s premier trade gateway, and is set to develop an economic zone in close proximity to the terminal.

The Freight Corridor, a rail-based project, is strategically planned to traverse from Karachi Port on the Arabian Sea through Karachi to the Pipri Marshalling Yard, covering approximately 50 kilometres which will alleviate congestion in Karachi, enhance road safety, and significantly boost efficiency while reducing overall logistics costs.

Pakistan Railways, the national state-owned railway company, operating an extensive network of nearly 8,000 route-kilometres across the country, from Peshawar in the northwest to Karachi in the south, will play a pivotal role in the realisation of these projects.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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