Fourth ITI train yet to reach Turkey

Published May 1, 2022
AN ITI train is parked at an Iranian station near the Turkish border.—Dawn
AN ITI train is parked at an Iranian station near the Turkish border.—Dawn

LAHORE: The fourth Istanbul-bound freight train carrying high-value goods in six container-laden wagons is yet to reach its destination despite a lapse of around two months.

The train is currently parked near a remote station in Iran for about one week as the authorities concerned, on the complaint of a leading Turkish freight forwarder, have reportedly declined its entry into Turkey, Dawn has learnt.

“Actually, the Pakistani freight forwarder is yet to clear the dues of MFA Logistics worth nearly 34,000 euros in Turkey despite promises. That is why the train, named the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) train, got stuck first at Taftan and then at Zahidan (Iran) for several days,” a source privy to the development told Dawn on Friday.

He added that the situation was “really worrisome for those exporting their goods to Turkey and the rest of Europe as they handed over their precious goods to the freight forwarder in Pakistan on February 28.”

Cargo-laden wagons stranded at Razi station near Turkish border over payment dispute

While taking into account that there is no effective complaint handling system in Pakistan Railways (PR), the source wondered to whom should the customers lodge their complaints. “At present, no one is listening to the customers who are themselves trying to contact the freight forwarders and other parties,” he added.

The train started its journey from Pakistan during the first week of March. By the end of that month, it reached Taftan, where it got stuck for a few days due to the dispute between the Pakistani and Turkish freight forwarders and some Customs-related issues. Later, it arrived in Zahidan, where the goods were transshipped to wagons compatible with Europe’s standard gauge rail system in six containers (two 40-foot-long and four 20-foot-long). When the train reached Zahidan, the Turkish freight forwarder refused to send wagons for transshipment. However, after being assured of the payment by the Pakistani freight forwarder, the Turkish freight forwarder sent wagons to Zahidan.

But the Pakistani freight forwarder again avoided clearing dues, which forced his counterpart in Turkey to get the train stopped at the Iran-Turkey border. “Yes, the train is parked near the Razi station at the border these days.”

“Besides the payment, there are other issues too,” says a Turkish official from the MFA Logsitics.

According to another official source, the travel time between Islamabad and Istanbul is fixed at around 17 days. But the fourth ITI train that had started its journey nearly two months ago is yet to reach Istanbul. “Since the goods loaded in the containers include raw tobacco, carpets, silica chemicals, etc, I guess these goods will take around seven to 10 more days to reach Istanbul subject to resolving the issues.” He said the ITI train operation, in such a situation, might not continue for long.

The PR Chief Executive Officer was not available for comment.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

LNG crisis
Updated 27 Jun, 2022

LNG crisis

Global LNG shortages have sent the fuel’s price spiralling to record highs.
Bloc politics
27 Jun, 2022

Bloc politics

USING the platform of the 14th BRICS Summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping has made some interesting observations...
KCR dream
27 Jun, 2022

KCR dream

RAILWAYS Minister Saad Rafique has basically clarified what many a commuter in Karachi has known for long: true and...
Outlawing torture
Updated 26 Jun, 2022

Outlawing torture

Physical or psychological torture is now considered almost a given in police and intelligence investigations.
High-profile case
Updated 26 Jun, 2022

High-profile case

IN a ‘breaking news’ culture, it is not often that such a significant development in a high-profile case can be...
Daska redux?
26 Jun, 2022

Daska redux?

AS the clock ticks down on the by-elections scheduled for next month on recently vacated Punjab Assembly seats,...