A freight train service between Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan was re-launched after a 10-years of break, providing a substantial boost to trade between the 3 countries and throughout the region.
The Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad (ITI) cargo train began service in 2009 but was halted in 2011 owing to multiple delays in Pakistan. It can travel between the three countries in around 14 days, which is significantly quicker and less expensive than the alternative sea route.
It will travel 1,990 kilometres (1,235 miles) through Pakistan before crossing the Taftan border into Iran for a distance of 2,603 kilometres (1,620 miles). The freight train will travel 1,850 kilometres (1,150 miles) via Turkey before arriving in Istanbul.
The Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO), a 10-member regional cooperation group founded in 1964 as the Regional Cooperation for Development and renamed ECO in 1985, was founded by Turkey, Pakistan, and Iran.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, speaking on the occasion, described the action as “historic,” adding that it will enhance commerce in the region and beyond.
According to him, an ITI passenger train might be launched in the future to improve regional connection and economic integration.
— 🇹🇷 Mustafa Yurdakul /مصطفی (@Mustafa_MFA) December 21, 2021
Mustafa Yurdakul, the Turkish Ambassador in Islamabad, posted a photo from the train’s opening.
The decision to restore the ITI freight train service was made during the ECO member states’ ministerial summit in 2020.