Good news for Pakistani, Iranian, and Turkish citizens: the freight train from Pakistan to Turkey stopped in 2011, and resumed on 21st December 2021.
The Islamabad – Tehran – Istanbul ( ITI ) freight train that was stopped in 2011 due to some delays, its service has been resumed in an inauguration ceremony by Pakistan’s Railway minister Azam Khan Swati, in the presence of Turkish and Iranian ambassadors.
ITI – A Project of ECO
A project of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) ITI train was launched in 2009 to increase trade among the member states of the organization.
The train service was inaugurated on 14th August 2009. On 13th August 2010, the first train departed from Istanbul and reached Pakistan. Since then Pakistan has sent 8 trains to Turkey. On 5th November 2011, that last train from Pakistan left for Turkey from the Lahore Dry Port. On the contrary, Pakistan has received 6 trains from Turkey since the launch of the service. On 9th December 2011, the last train arrived from Istanbul.
Resumption of Cargo Train
After careful planning, the Cargo Train from Pakistan to Turkey resumed its service on 21st December 2021. The service was inaugurated by Pakistan Railway Minister Azam Khan Swati, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. The Turkish Ambassador Mustafa Yurdakul was also present at the event.
The first train that departed from the Margalla Railway Station in Islamabad consisted of 13 containers of rice, dates, and pink salt.
Capacity & Cost
The service is specifically designed to transport containers and cargo. The train is considered to be cost-effective, with a capacity of 80,000 tonnes of goods, 40 feet, and 20 containers. The predicted journey time is 11 days less than the 45-day sea route, resulting in a 30% cost reduction.
Distance in Kilometers from Islamabad to Istanbul
The train will leave Islamabad and travel through Pakistan for 1990 kilometers before crossing the Taftan border. It will reach Iran after a 2603-kilometer journey, and from there it will go around 1950 kilometers to Istanbul.
Travel Time and Departure Day
According to a senior official, the cargo train will run every Tuesday. It primarily consists of nine wagons. The operating period between Drence-Kapikoy (Istanbul) and Zahidan-Tabraiz (Iran) will be 90 hours each, according to the current agreement to start the train and the schedule agreed upon jointly by Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan. The railway journey from Zahidan to Islamabad will take 135.5 hours.
In this schedule, the train will complete its journey in 14 days between the three countries.
Pakistan to Turkey Train Map
The train’s journey will begin in Islamabad and will move towards Quetta. The train will then continue to Zahidan, and from there it’ll continue its expedition to Kerman. From there, the train will travel to Tehran and then Tebriz. The train will then continue to Malaya, then to Ankara, Turkey’s capital, and will finally then arrive in Istanbul.
Reviews and Opinions of Pak and Turk Officials
Pakistan Railway Minister considers this as an opportunity that will bring more business and connectivity to the region. Azam Khan Swati said that “We have opened our trade routes and it is a great opportunity for importers and exporters.”
The Turk Ambassador, Mustafa Yurdakul, expressed optimism that the train service just wouldn’t stop at Istanbul but would continue to Europe, benefiting all neighboring countries as the economy recovered in the post-Covid period.
The Pak-Railway Minister expressed his plan for launching a passenger train from Islamabad to Istanbul that will allow citizens to travel and explore the beautiful countries via train routes.
This is a very positive move for the corporate sector, as it provides Pakistan with the opportunity to earn $32 million each year.