Pakistan Railways inaugurated the Goods in Transit to Afghanistan (GITA), a train service that transports cargo from Pakistan’s port city of Karachi to Chaman and Kandahar with nearly 35 containers, Pakistan’s Daily Times reported on Saturday.
Pakistan Railways Chairman Habib-ur-Rehman Gilani celebrated the opening of the train service on Saturday, when it departed from the Pakistan International Container Terminal in Karachi with 35 containers on board for the country's southwest Chaman city, bordering Afghanistan. From there, goods will be shifted across the border, reports Xinhua news agency.
Pakistan Railways Chairman Habib-ur-Rehman Gilani said that according to the agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan, up to five to seven trains will transport up to 500 containers every month, depending on the availability of the cargo, reports Xinhua news agency.
Gilani said the launching of the cross-border freight train is a major achievement by Pakistan Railways.
"The project will help increase the revenue of Pakistan Railways and will also reduce the heavy traffic flow from major roads and highways, besides providing cheap and smooth cargo services to traders with little loss risks in terms of damages," said the official.
The cargo will reach the Afghan border in 48 hours, he added.
Pakistan originally planned to start an Afghan transit cargo train service in 2017, but the plan hit snags due to security issues, according to media reports.