Afghanistan on Thursday expressed resolution to cooperate in the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) Container Train.
This was the outcome of the 9th High Level Working Group (HLWG) meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) Container Train on Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) route held in Islamabad.
The meeting was attended by delegates from Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and ECO secretariat. The report of the meeting was drafted by representatives from Pakistan, Turkey and Iran.
Parveen Agha Secretary Ministry of Railways Pakistan was elected as Chairperson of the meeting.
Ahsan Ali Mangi, Deputy Secretary General, ECO Secretariat expressed sincere thanks to Ministry of Railways, Pakistan. He shared the latest progress about commercialization of ECO Kazakhastan, Turkmenistan and Iran (KTI) railway corridor with the support of en route countries and hoped this model is also replicated for ECO ITI rail corridor.
President of ECO Trade Development Bank (ECO TDB) Javed Aslam said, “A firm time table from Islamabad to Istanbul and vice versa was a must.”
He also said, “There is need to think beyond the ITI Container Train, notably about passenger Train service as well. IDB supports and encourages the regional cooperation/integration among its 57 member countries. The bank has recently approved ten years Strategy Framework where a special focus is given to regional cooperation among its member countries’ connectivity between members.”
It was also agreed in the meeting that the total travel time of the ECO Container Train from Hayadarpas to Istanbul will be 15.5 days. Through altering the route in Pakistan, the period in Pakistan will be reduced from 8.5 days to 6 days.
The meeting discussed the infrastructure improvement requirements as well as possibility of a “Corridor Management Mechanism” through harmonization of processes and documentation between the agencies of the three countries to improve the efficiency of corridor benefiting from the presence of the representatives of IDB and ECO TDB.
According to the report the meeting proposed the ECO Secretariat may conduct a commercial (Business Study) on ITI Rail Corridor including indicative commercial tariffs for the route.