NCL uplifting Pakistan’s freight business via rail network since year 2014

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ISLAMABAD: The National Logistics Cell (NLC) express freight train service has been growing and opening up modern avenues and prospects for the development of freight business via rail links since 2014, WealthPK reported.
The NLC, after expanding its business from trucking to engineering and manufacturing, to dry ports, border terminals, and tolling, entered into the rail business as it is way cheaper than the road haulage.
In Pakistan, the transport and logistics sector includes railways, roads, ports, shipping, and aviation, with road networks dominating the mix.
“Rail freight is important to economic development because of its comparative economic advantages in serving certain forms and flows of freight. Countries with well-functioning freight railways are more competitive and reap wider benefits of balanced transport systems in which the right freight moves on the right mode,” according to the World Bank.
The NLC has acquired 10 locomotives from the South Korean firm KORAIL to run its freight train, costing around $12 million. Pakistan Railways (PR) signed a public-private partnership agreement in 2014 for a period of 12 years with the NLC as the private party. Consequently, the NLC entered into the rail business given the shortages of freight forwarding capacities in Pakistan, where most of the industrial goods are transported from manufacturing centres and ports to markets in trucks.
Now, after magnificently completing eight years of freight haulage, the NLC express freight train is discovering new opportunities for joint ventures in the rail sector. It is keen to cooperate with logistics companies of China and Pakistan and enjoy unlimited avenues, opportunities, and prospects under the umbrella of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), WealthPK reported.
All the 10 locomotives are running in full swing, which has also allowed this private enterprise to generate considerable revenue.
The technical team of the NLC has been assigned the duty of maintenance of the locomotives – purchased from the South Korean firm, while the PR will be responsible for marketing and operations. The express freight train has appeared as one of the most progressive, advanced, and profitable business units of NLC.
A senior official from PR told WealthPK that the goal of connectivity through CPEC is unattainable without upgrading the ML-1 of PR. The refurbishment and expansion of the ML-1 is, therefore, considered a dire need for the improvement and transformation of the PR.
The official said efficient freight movement is of sheer importance to economic development. He said the availability of transport infrastructure and services affects national and global development patterns and can boost or hamper economic growth. – INP