Mr Atif Ikram Sheikh, President of FPCCI, has demanded that Pakistan railways offer reliable, cost-effective and expanded cargo services to Pakistan’s business, industry and trade community from Karachi to upcountry, as Karachi is the country’s industrial and trade hub. He added that it has been a longstanding demand aimed at capitalising on the railway’s differential advantages over conventional trucks.
Mr. Atif Ikram Sheikh explained that rail-based cargo transportation is not only cost-effective but also has enormously high carrying capacity – making it the mode of choice for most of the developed countries where they have to cover long stretches of land in inter-city, inter-state or province and even intra-city destinations.
It is pertinent to note that the business community has held a detailed, consultative meeting with Mr Abdul Rasheed Solangi, Secretary of Industries & Commerce (I&C), Government of Sindh, over the goods transportation issues. Mr. Aman Paracha, VP of FPCCI, represented FPCCI’s President.
Mr. Atif Ikram Sheikh stressed that the road infrastructure from industrial areas to ports should be revamped as industries in Karachi suffer daily. Additionally, vendors supplying to major markets of industrial regions also face broken roads. Therefore, the transportation network in and around industrial areas needs immediate attention.
Mr Aman Paracha maintained that Karachi demands a proper, world-class road infrastructure to transport goods to the rest of the country. The Northern Bypass is a single-track highway connecting M – 9 and the rest of the country. We need multiple options that remain operational 24 / 7 to cater to the consumers’ needs in the country’s length and breadth, or Northern Bypass should be expanded at the earliest.
Mr Aman Paracha added that the government only allows 6 hours of cargo transportation in Karachi – and we need to have a 3 – 4 lane Northern Bypass to enable the goods to swiftly reach M – 9 through Northern Bypass within those 6 hours.
Mr Abdul Rasheed Solangi called upon the business community to install weight stations to implement the axle load regime effectively at the points of origin at all industrial zones. Industrialists updated the secretary I&C that weighing stations have already been installed, and they are cooperating with the authorities. Nonetheless, now it is the government’s turn to facilitate good transportation.
Mr Aman Paracha stressed that the lingering issues of trade & industry vis-à-vis Karachi’s transportation and communications infrastructure should be prioritised and brought at par with at least regional and sub-regional competitors. The city contributes upwards of 60 per cent of the country’s total revenues, and federal & provincial governments must pool their resources to protect the struggling economic activities of the metropolis.