LAHORE: Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad said on Saturday that five closed dry ports would be restored by 1st March to facilitate traders and businessmen.
Inaugurating a new freight container train at Mughlapura dry port, he said that Chishtian, Kundian, Sheikhupura, Jiabagga and Mughulpura dry ports would be made operational by March 1st which would increase economic activities in the country.
He urged the importers and exporters to help run the dry ports and promised that the railway officers would cooperate with them in their businesses. He remarked that the development of railways was important for any country’s economic progress.
“The total area of Mughalpura dry port is 31 acres (1.1-acre is covered). The dry port has a capacity to park 324 wagons and has eight working lines. Similarly, it has also the capacity to store 2,000 containers. The dry port is now earning Rs13 million and after the working of the container train, the monthly income will increase and reach to 20 million.”
Sheikh Rasheed said that the Main Line 1 (ML-1) project would play a vital role in the country’s progress as its share in the economy would be $9 billion, which was more than the IMF support of $6 billion.
He maintained that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a game-changer and that no conspiracy or hurdle in the way of the project would be tolerated.
He thanked the chief executive officer (CEO) of DP World, a terminal operator, for promising the provision of 5,000 trackers for freight coaches, which would be helpful in tracking freight wagons after their installation.
The minister said that the ML-1 was his dream and mission, which would ensure 160 km\hour speed of trains, adding that after completion of the ML-1, he would retire from politics.
He said that under the ML-1 project, all curves in the track would be straightened and bridges would be upgraded.
He expressed hope that Minister Asad Umar would ensure early tenders for the ML-1 project.
The minister said that 154km-long track between Peshawar and Jalalabad in Afghanistan would also be included in CPEC.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would soon visit the PR headquarters to inaugurate a modernised Command and Control system of the railways.
PR Chairman Habibur Rehman Gilani, newly appointed PR Chief Executive Officer\Senior General Manager Dost Ali Leghari and PR Police IG Mushtaq Mehar were also present on the occasion.