The Gujranwala business community has indicated interest in operating a cargo train between Gujranwala and Karachi on a commercial basis.
Because Pakistan Railways already outsources the commercial administration of loss-making trains, it has promised to pay the freight/rent with profit in advance for a year.
The Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) is also looking to execute a leasing arrangement to turn the city’s main railway station’s cargo terminal into a dry port for the movement of containers carrying commodities for export and import.
The daily in and out of at least 500 containers between Gujranwala and Karachi has been a habit for a long time, with the road link being the primary mode of transport. Furthermore, Gujranwala, which has 21,000 units and a cottage industry, and is the country’s second-largest business hub after Karachi for having the most diverse industrial sectors, is not connected to the highway.
The chamber’s proposal had already been approved by the Punjab chief minister, and a consultant had been appointed in this respect, according to GCCI president Umar Ashraf Mughal, who told Dawn that the government would have to contribute Rs900 million for the acquisition of land for the expressway.
Mr Mughal said the chamber delegation met with Federal Minister for Railways Azam Swati and discussed the possibility of launching a cargo train between Gujranwala and Karachi, and that the deputy superintendent railways, Lahore, held a follow-up meeting in Gujranwala, following which a joint inspection was conducted at the Gujranwala railway station’s cargo terminal.
He stated that Gujranwala’s sector earned at least 2.5 billion US dollars in exports, as well as saving more than 3 billion dollars in import substitution and contributed at least Rs40 billion in taxes each year.
Initially, it was proposed that the cargo train be launched from the Wazirabad railway station because it is located in the heart of the golden triangle districts of Gujranwala, Gujrat, and Sialkot, but the cargo terminal was said to be insufficient in comparison to the capacity of the Gujranwala station’s terminal.