LAHORE: A feeling of extreme jubilation has prevailed among the stakeholders of the Mughalpura Dry port including Pakistan Customs, clearing agents, transporters, importers, exporters and Railways following the arrival of first ever freight train in five years at the port.
The freight trains had not been arriving at the dry port for the last five years as Pakistan Railways had sunken into financial crisis during the previous government’s rule.
“Railway is an important national organ which has been going through hefty losses for the last many years. However, during the present set up we have improved to a great extent which is evident from the passenger side trains quality of service,” Chief Traffic Manager of the dry port, Altaf Hussain Phulpoto said while receiving the train.
He underscored that Railways’ earnings and economic development are linked to the cargo trains hence the department has started the operation of first freight train as soon as it has regained initially enough capability.
He stated that the department has planned to make the cargo trains fully operational as soon as possible adding that Rawalpindi, Peshawar and other dry ports will also be made operational at the earliest to make the Railways a profitable department.
“It is the beginning and with the gradual addition of locomotives to our strength we will increase the number of cargo trains,” he said, adding “We have earned Rs 2.7 million with the arrival of this train and certainly we will like to increase the operations in future.”
“I am thankful to Allah Almighty as we are happy for restoration of the cargo operations at the port after a long period of five and a half years. We have facilitated the Railways in every way to start the operation. Another train is on its way to reach the port,” Lahore Customs Clearing Agents Association Chairman Amjad Ali Chaudhry said on the occasion.
He lauded the efforts of the incumbent government and said that he was thankful to the Premier and his team for restoring the cargo train operations.
He estimated that about five to six thousand families attached to the dry port will be enabled to earn their livelihood hoping that all the stakeholders will work efficiently.
LCCAA President Agha Iftikhar hoped that the cargo train will gradually increase the operation. He said that twice a cargo train’s arrival at the port will help reduce per unit cost which earlier the importers and exporters were bearing. He informed that the train was carrying 720 tonnes of goods and articles worth millions of rupees in 40 containers.
A large number of labourers, customs agents and railways officials were also present on the occasion.