A new step to again revive ECO freight train
Islamabad, IRNA -- The chances to revive the ECO freight train were bright earlier this year, however, no progress was made in this regard but recently Pakistan’s major logistics company has announced that it will start the first commercial run of ECO freight train between Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad this month.
The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) train project was scheduled to be re-launched in March this year.
Adviser to Prime Minister of Pakistan for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood had also confirmed the revival of the ECO freight train, but for unknown reasons no progress was made.
Azam Khan Swati, Pakistan's Minister of Railways, said in mid-March this year that he was scheduled to receive the Eco container train in Islamabad on March 26.
AEROSINT Division of Pakistan Strategic Forum in a tweet said Pakistan’s National Logistics Cell will start the first commercial run of the Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad (ITI) road corridor this month by transporting high-value products from #Pakistan to Turkey through Iran.
The railway project will bring long term benefits for trade and public transport sector.
According to the German website Deutsche Welle, the ECO freight train will increase communication between Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, a move that was launched in 2009 with the aim of strengthening regional communications and trade, as well as the tripartite.
"Although the ECO railway project is not part of the China Road and Belt Initiative but it is expected to be included," the report quoted experts from the South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council and the Warsaw Academy of War Studies as saying.
According to the experts, if the 25-year Iran-China strategic plan is implemented, Beijing will undoubtedly need to use the capacity of the ECO container train to strengthen communications in the region, and at the same time, if the Chinese succeed in curbing US influence in Asia, More countries in the region need participation.
The ninth meeting of the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul Railway Communication Project Working Group, known as the 'Eco Train', was held in July 2018 in the presence of the then Minister of Railways of Pakistan, Islamabad, with the focus on accelerating the removal of obstacles to the project.
The ECO container train officially started operating in 2009 according to the tripartite agreement between Islamabad, Tehran and Ankara, and the first train left Islamabad for Turkey via Iran on August 14 of the same year (August 23, 2009).
The train continued to operate until December 2011. The Pakistani government signed a memorandum of understanding with the Turkish Railways in November 2013 to resume freight train traffic between the two countries with the aim of boosting trade, but there is no word yet on whether it will resume operations.
Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA