THE recent strike by truckers in Karachi virtually paralysed industrial and commercial activities in the country causing huge losses to port authorities, shipping companies, exporters and importers, industry, etc.
However, intervention by the Sindh Governor helped to control the crisis leading to the withdrawal of strike. This strike should once again draw the attention of the government to look into the problem of goods transportation. This vital activity cannot be left at the mercy of the transporters mafia. There are about 25,000 truck trips daily between the Karachi ports and upcountry.
These trucks are seen parked or moving everywhere in Karachi, specially in Keamari, Mauripur, Landhi and Zulfiqarabad. These trucks block roads and illegally occupy private and public spaces, make life miserable for residents and cause fatal accidents.
Karachi roads, including Northen Bypass where residential and commercial activities are in great progress, cannot bear the load of this ever-increasing truck traffic. The government should overcome pressure from transporters’ mafia and use railways for transporting goods. Luckily, Pakistan stretches north-south, most suitable for railroad transportation.
It is unwise to use 20 trucks to haul goods when the job can be done by a single railway engine. Imagine the savings in fuel foreign exchange. For making use of railways we have to modify and expand goods platforms and rail tracks and build transition facilities between Karachi and Peshawar.
The government should include this project in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Syed M. Nazim
Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2017