Pakistan International Container Terminal (PICT), a subsidiary of the global terminal operator, Manila-based International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), has launched a dedicated rail cargo service connecting the cities of Karachi and Lahore, in cooperation with the state-owned Pakistan Railways. PICT is the only terminal in the leading Pakistan port to have its own intermodal rail facility, giving it a significant potential competitive edge over its rivals.
The aim, says ICTSI, is to move goods faster and at a significantly lower cost to upcountry markets, targeting agriculture, textile, fertiliser, sports goods, electronics and FMCG producers in particular. Khurram Khan, PICT chief executive officer, says, “This rail service provides us with more efficiency and flexibility. As an alternative to road, rail transport reduces the cost of doing business for clients and at the same time helps alleviate congestion on the city roads.”
Present at the launch of rail service were Pakistan Railways Federal Minister, Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad, and officials of Karachi Port Trust and Pakistan Customs. Together they witnessed the first freight train leaving PICT to transfer containers to Lahore.