ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Railways has improved availability of locomotives in freight pool and now increased its strength to 95 from mere eight in 2013.
The addition of dedicated, freight specific 55 new locomotives of 4000 to 4500 HP in freight pool has also been made during last two years as part of steps taken to make Pakistan Railways a substitute for cargo transportation in the country, sources in the Ministry told APP.
The revenues from freight sector which were Rs 1.9 billion in June, 2013 have risen to Rs 10.768 billion in June, 2017, registering an unprecedented 567 per cent growth.
Highlighting the other measures adopted so far, official sources on Sunday said agreement with Pakistan State Oil (PSO) has been inked in May this year for transportation of two million tons of fuel in a year.
Freight Deposit Account (FDA) based agreement with Maple Leaf Cement Factory and MoUs with other ompanies have been signed for transportation of coal.
The other steps included preferred loading of high rated commodity like POL while terminal facilities are being improved by introducing modern loading/unloading facilities to curtail loading-un-loading time and introduction of high capacity/high/speed Hooper Trucks for swift transportation of coal.
The sources said existing track on main corridor (ML-I) is being up-graded under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to increase speed of passenger and freight trains and improve better turn round of wagons and locomotives.
Pakistan Railway Freight Transport Company (PRFTC) has been established which has entered into long term contract for transportation of 4.4 million tons of imported coal for Coal Fired Power Plant at Yousafwala.
The commercial management of Cargo Express train, carrying 27 high capacity wagons has been out-sourced under Public Private
Partnership (PPP) running between Karachi Bandar-Badami Bagh/ Lahore on daily basis. Another proposal for out-sourcing of commercial management of Cargo Express train (503UP/504Dn) between Karachi Bandar-Faisalabad via Multan City is under process.
The negotiations are underway to re-introduce international container train on Islamabad Zahidan-Istanbul route.
The sources said as a result of these efforts, the number of freight trains originating from port has increased to 12 per day which was less than one train per day in June, 2013.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Railways has started a project for up-gradation of Main Line-1 (Peshawar to Karachi) and establishment of new dry port near Havelian under CPEC.
The project entails up-gradation of railway system from Peshawar to Karachi including Taxila to Havelian section having speed of 160/120 kms/hr, modern signaling system, upgraded stations and rolling stock.
For implementation of the project, a Framework Agreement has already been singed between governments of Pakistan and China.
Currently the preliminary design of the project is under review and it is expected that the work on ground would be started early next year.—APP