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Pakistan needs to promote logistics for trade facilitation, regional connectivity: Experts

By Khalid Aziz | Gwadar Pro Feb 8, 2022

Islamabad (January 8): Experts on Monday called for promoting the logistics sector on modern lines to leverage infrastructure developed under CPEC initiative for local as well as regional connectivity and trade facilitation.

The experts were speaking at a webinar held by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad to discuss ways to develop fragmented transportation systems in Pakistan as per global standards. The experts said that a robust logistics sector was a must in view of future industrialisation under CPEC.

Chairman Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) Commission, Pakistan said that CPEC had fixed the infrastructure issue. However, the government needs to roll out policies for development of inland logistics, shipping and rail transportation to complement the CPEC infrastructure.

"China developed its road infrastructure and logistics sector on war footing to enable its industry to cater to the needs of Europe and other nations of the world. We should also follow China’s footprints", he said.

"We need to develop the trucking industry and focus on container production together with establishing a robust shipping industry and reliable rail transportation", he said, "The TIR allows Pakistani vehicles to travel to China, Iran and Central Asia through Afghanistan, but we have only four logistics operators registered with the organisation, he said. Also, Pakistan owns no ships, which also can create problems in transporting industrial goods produced in Pakistan."

The absence of a reliable logistics system can also risk our energy security. "For example, we can witness hurdles in transporting coal to the Sahiwal coal power plant, which is a key energy project under the CPEC", he said.

Ehsan Malik, CEO of Pakistan Business Council, said that logistics affected every sector of the economy, including industry. He said that the Main Line 1 project under the CPEC was vital for addressing issues of goods transportation in Pakistan. "We expect progress on this key project following the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China", he said.

Dr Salman Shah, Advisor to Chief Minister of Punjab on Planning and Development, said that there should be a demand for modern transportation to lure investments in the sector. The experts said that the demand was already there and several national and multinational firms had invested heavily in their logistics arms to ensure hassle free transportation of their goods to every nook and corner of the country. However, such investments served their individual purposes and had no impact on ease of transportation in general.

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