Pakistan International Container Terminal (PICT) and Pakistan Railways inaugurated the Goods in Transit to Afghanistan (GITA) service–the first rail freight service that exclusively facilitates the transport of transit cargo from Pakistan to Afghanistan.  Launched in early February, the service highlights PICT’s increasingly significant role in cross-border trade facilitation, as well as the economic importance of Karachi as a gateway port.

“The GITA service is a relatively cheaper, swifter, and more secure transport cargo solution.  With the launch of this first cargo train service to Afghanistan at PICT, we look to further strengthen our bilateral relations with trade bodies and our esteemed partner-clientele,” said Khurram Aziz Khan, PICT Chief Executive Officer.  

Mr. Khan and Habib-ur-Rehman Gilani, Pakistan Railways Chairman, led the inauguration, where senior officials Nisar Memon, Karachi Divisional Superintendent; Amir Ali Baloch, Pakistan Railways Chief Operating Officer; and Zafar Ranjha, Pakistan Railways Freight Transportation Company Chief Executive Officer, witnessed the ceremonial departure of the first train bound for the southwest city of Chaman. From there, the containers will be transported across the border to Kandahar in Afghanistan.

Consolidating its position as the container terminal of choice in Karachi, PICT also looks to build stronger commercial ties with Pakistani and Afghan traders through its partnership with the state-owned Pakistan Railways.  

“This trade collaboration between PICT, the Government, and Pakistan Railways will mutually enhance the ease of doing business and open doors for economic ventures.  PICT continues to ceaselessly translate its vision to become the container terminal of choice for trade at the Port of Karachi by taking persistent initiatives to provide customer-centric solutions and boost the trade competitiveness of Pakistan’s port industry,” explained Mr. Khan.

GITA, as an end-to-end logistics solution, is expected to bring more business into the country because of the increasingly transparent trade operations. The use of trains to transport cargo will help ease the flow of traffic in major roads and highways, benefiting the local businesses as well as the commuting public.

(From left) Zafar Ranjha, Pakistan Railways Chief Executive Officer; Habib-ur-Rehman Gilani, Pakistan Railways Chairman; Khurram Aziz Khan, PICT Chief Executive Officer; Nisar Memon, Karachi Divisional Superintendent; and Amir Ali Baloch, Pakistan Railways Chief Operating Officer, lead the inauguration of the GITA service at PICT.

A container is loaded onto the train bound for Chaman.