An 11th Meeting of the High Level Working Group (HLWG) on Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) Container Train was held virtually on October 27, 2020 to discuss ways and means for resuming the operation of ITI Container Train as prescribed in 2018’s Turkmenbashi Declaration.
The Chair of the Meeting and Director General (Operations), Ministry of Railways of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mr. Kashif Rasheed Yousafani underlined that the ECO Vision 2025 could serve as a basis for the expansion of regional trade through harmonization of procedures, the improvement of economic efficiency and the reduction of transaction costs. In line with the ECO Vision, Pakistan Railways has entered an era of change, developing the mainline projects between Karachi and Peshawar, as well as Quetta and Zahedan routes.
Addressing the meeting, the ECO Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Kanan Nazarov noted that the 9th Meeting of ECO Transport Ministers had mandated the HLWG to identify the immediate/required actions for the resumption of operationalization and commercialization of the ITI Route. He requested the en-route countries to facilitate the operation of the container train through effective cargo mobilization and regular operation of the train.
Other issues discussed during the meeting, included the latest developments on the rehabilitation of the Taftan-Quetta railway line, the construction of a standard line from Zahedan to Taftan and the possibility for extending the current route to other Member States. The meeting also decided to resume regular operation of ITI Train in January 2021.
The ITI train’s initiative was made upon the decision of the 8th Ministerial Meeting on Transport and Communications held on June 28-29, 2011 at Ashgabat. Subsequently, the relevant High-Level Working Group consisting of Representatives from en-route Member States was established for further coordination to help materialize the ITI initiative.