ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Railways Divisional Superintendent Rawalpindi Abdul Maalik Saturday said that business community was playing leading role in the economic development of the country and Pakistan Railways would provide them better cargo services to facilitate them in growth of business activities.

He visited ICCI along with Dr Tahir Bukhari, Chief Transportation Manager, Railways HQs, Lahore to discuss how Pakistan Railways could help them in cargo transportation. He said due to the good efforts of current Federal Railways Minister, Pakistan’s Railways revenue has been improved from Rs18 billion three years back to Rs40 billion and the next target was to take it to Rs50 billion. However, he said that Pakistan’s Railways annual expenditure was Rs75 to 80 billion due to which it was still in deficit.

Abdul Maalik said that Pakistan Railways had purchased 1800 new locomotives of 4000 horse power each from US with a load capacity of 60 ton each to provide better cargo services to its customers. He said under CPEC, $8.2 billion would be spent for Pakistan Railways in three phases to improve its infrastructure and systems. He hoped that with its upgradation, railways would provide smart services to the private sector. He said that the purpose of his visit to ICCI was to interact with business community in order to identify their problems and consult with them how to provide them better cargo services. He assured that efforts would be made resolve all highlighted issues of business community.

Muhammad Naveed, acting president of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said that Pakistan Railways has key role in the growth of business activities as it provided cheapest mode of goods transportation.

However, he said with the passage of time, the share of PR in freight transport has dwindled. He said PR enjoyed 73% share in freight transport from 1955 to 1960, but its current share has significantly come down. He stressed that Pakistan Railways should take urgent measures to restore its old glory and provide better cargo services to the private sector that will not only facilitate the growth of business activities but will also improve its own revenue.

He said Pakistan Railways had established a dry port at Islamabad in 2006 and it should also set up a warehouse at dry port that was badly needed to meet the needs of business community.

He said Pakistan Railways should also provide easy access to containers to the dry port that would help in growth of business activities. Nisar Mirza, vice president ICCI, emphasized that Pakistan Railways should provide weighbridge at dry port to meet the needs of business community.

Khalid Javed, M Ejaz Abbasi, Raffat Farid, Zikria A Zia, Tahir Ayub, Khalid Chaudhry, Saeed Bhattti, Izzat Bakhsh, Baber Chaudhry, Dildar Abbasi and others also spoke at the occasion.