Following a meeting at the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), the national railways of Pakistan, Turkey, and Iran have agreed in principle to resume the Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad (ITI) container train service.
All three countries have agreed to unified tariffs and a regular timetable and according to news sources, all necessary preparations for the container train line have been met.
Launched in 2009, the ITI framework exists within the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). The 10th edition of the Economic Cooperation Organization’s (ECO) Transport and Communications Ministers Meeting was held in Istanbul.
During the meeting, Turkey’s transport minister, Adil Karaismailoglu informed the other two nations that the ITI railway project will be relaunched next year.
Although various test journeys were carried out, the transit line did not become a regular service. This however should change since the three countries have now agreed to unified tariffs and a steady timetable. The Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad freight train will be relaunched next year, participants of a tri-lateral economic bloc thus decided.
The route, up until recently, was used for test journeys; no routine journeys were made via the route on a regular basis as there were pending developments to the infrastructure that needed to be finished.
However, positive changes in the diplomatic relations between the three countries, Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey, have allowed the resumption of operations.
Moreover, the railway line from Istanbul, through Tehran, and all the way to Islamabad could be extremely valuable to all three nations when regular operations start.
A journey on the tracks takes eleven and a half days to complete and a train can have 20 containers, of 40 feet each, attached to it. The route has also caught the attention of the United Nations and has been recognized as an international corridor between the three countries.