The national railways of Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan have unanimously agreed to resume regular operations of the Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad (ITI) container train soon. According to news sources, all necessary preparations for the container train line have been met.
The ITI corridor was first launched in 2009. The framework existed within the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). The Economic Cooperation Organization or ECO is an Asian political and economic intergovernmental organization that was founded in 1985 in Tehran by the leaders of Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey. It provides a platform to discuss ways to improve development and promote trade and investment opportunities.
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 yesterday.
The 10th edition of the Economic Cooperation Organization’s (ECO) Transport and Communications Ministers Meeting was held in Istanbul.
All obstacles for international cargo transportation should be removed, Adil Karaismailoglu, Turkey’s transport minister said in his opening speech.
He also said quotas should be removed in the ECO region.
The availability of the train is actively promoted in each country, in order to dispatch this train as soon as possible, the companies said.
Importance of the ITI train
The railway line has great potential. Initially, it took a train 15 days to make the 6500km journey, and this was eventually reduced to 11.5 days. The train can carry 20, 40ft rail cars. The route has been recognized as an international corridor by the United Nations.
It is foreseen that the railway not only connects these three countries but also forms a link between Europe and Asia. From Istanbul, there are good connections to Europe and with the use of the Marmara undersea railway tunnel, the delivery could be even faster. The Marmara railway tunnel was recently opened for rail freight traffic, allowing for a faster link between the European and Asian sides of the Turkish city.
On the other end, India and Bangladesh have expressed interest to connect to the line, in order to realize a faster transport link to the Middle East and Europe. The ITI train is also called the Eco Container Train.