India takes lead to run freight train from Dhaka to Istanbul

Codenamed the ITI-DKD-Y corridor, the container train’s route is scheduled as Dhaka-Kolkata-Delhi-Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi | Updated: March 3, 2017 5:04 am
 India, India freight train, Dhaka, Istanbul, China, container train, Indian Railway, India news, Indian Express Currently, goods take a long, roundabout route from Ludhiana to Lahore which otherwise are just a few hours apart by rail (Representational Image)

Taking a leaf from China’s run to Europe, India is going to showcase its might in freight movement by running a trans-continental container train full of goods from Dhaka to Istanbul, covering a 6,000-km journey across five countries — Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey.

Codenamed the ITI-DKD-Y corridor, the container train’s route is scheduled as Dhaka-Kolkata-Delhi-Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul. Eventually, Yangon will also be connected to Dhaka. The missing Tamu-Kalay link in Myanmar is still to be built.

Indian Railways has called South Asian railway heads involved in the project to work out the nitty-gritty at a high-level meeting on March 15-16. Pakistan railway chief Javed Anwar is also being invited. There is one issue with Pakistan that needs to be fixed. While Pakistan allows freight trains and passenger trains from Delhi to Lahore via Attari, it has historically cited security reasons to not allow movement of containers on this route. For the demonstration, Indian officials said, it will not be a problem as it is a one-off run.

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What energized the project is that a long missing link of 150 km in Zahedan, in the Baluchestan province of Iran, has now been established, connecting the country to the Pakistan Railway network on the border. So the Trans-Asian Railway Southern Corridor, as it is formally named, under the aegis of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), is good to go all the way to Turkey after certain operational exchange of notes and coordination between the nations concerned, which India is anchoring this month.

“The demonstration run will happen very soon in 2017 and we will sort out all the issues with the countries concerned. It’s a great leap for South Asian regional connectivity in the rail sector. This will also demonstrate to the world that there can be a real, commercial trans-Asian container corridor of this magnitude in the rail sector,” Mohammad Jamshed, Railway Board Member (Traffic), told The Indian Express.

Currently, goods take a long, roundabout route from Ludhiana to Lahore which otherwise are just a few hours apart by rail. The March 15-16 meeting is aimed at discussing some common technical and operational parameters between the railway systems of the countries involved. So far, in communications between the railway systems, all countries have on paper endorsed the project and have said that the demonstration is technically feasible.

India, on its part, had already sent a high-level team of officers from the Railway ministry and Container Corporation of India late last year to Dhaka on a reconnaissance of the proposed route. It was found that the rail bridge over the Padma river cannot carry the load of heavy freight trains and allows only passenger operations. So it was agreed to keep the demonstration train relatively light, filling it preferably with a cargo of cotton garments.

Past the Dhaka border, there is the inland container depot in India which will service the rail cargo train on its way to Kolkata. From Kolkata to Delhi and then to Attari and Lahore will be smooth sail, officials said.

In January this year, China sent a container train from East ‘hina’s Yiwu all the way to London via Germany, covering a distance of 12,000 km and demonstrating that it can be cheaper, even faster mode of freight movement between the Asian giant and countries in Western Europe and all in betwe”n.

“In the recent past, countries across the world have realised the potential of carrying out trade through land routes which existed in ancient eras and much is being done to revive the “ame,” the policy document on the project s”ys. “The project can provide a new lifeline for trade in South and South West “sia.”

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  1. R
    Rajat
    Mar 10, 2017 at 12:19 pm
    stan will never let this initiative blossom. They'll sabotage under instructions from China.
    Reply
    1. R
      Rajat
      Mar 10, 2017 at 12:23 pm
      That bash in election campaigns occurs only because of terrorist attacks by pak sponsored terrorists on Indian soil.lt;br/gt;stan has never been able to digest a progressing India, and defeats suffered in 1965 and 1971. There is deep rooted hatred about Hinduism in most common stanis.
      Reply
      1. R
        Rajveer Singh
        Mar 3, 2017 at 2:30 am
        stan again
        Reply
        1. A
          Abraham Dcruz
          Mar 3, 2017 at 9:26 am
          India will lead the world.
          Reply
          1. B
            bitterhoney
            Mar 3, 2017 at 3:02 am
            stan will not allow it to happen. India will have to conquer stan first.
            Reply
            1. D
              Debasish Sarkar
              Mar 13, 2017 at 4:26 pm
              Just Avoid Porkistan. This Dream train conception of yours is most lousy and ic.
              Reply
              1. T
                Tutu420
                Mar 3, 2017 at 3:34 am
                Its a great effort and will be really a game changer if executed well. In fact I would ask India to let stan be the leader in this project, for they are the only possible obstacle if any in this g project. But in reality such a route will benefit all countries and we all must go ahead with the plan.
                Reply
                1. j
                  jaihind101
                  Mar 3, 2017 at 3:57 am
                  Good move by India
                  Reply
                  1. M
                    MOHAN
                    Mar 4, 2017 at 6:10 pm
                    Sir, You are pessmtic . Common people in stan and India wants only friendly relations . As expect for brief periods in between, The stan is ruled only by Miltary junta since Independence of stan . Miltary has vested interests to keep Pak and India always as enemies , then only as ruling cl they can am wealth, power . As both are nucleared, people of both countries fear . Hope it will change for better as almost daily suicide bombing take place, common man in Pak will revolt against its own army .
                    Reply
                    1. C
                      crazy bhakt
                      Mar 3, 2017 at 8:24 am
                      India has been stalking China senselessly. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Train transportation between Europe and China is shorter, safer and quicker than sea transportation.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;For India which is a peninsular located in the Indian Ocean, sea transportation between Turkey and India, Iran and India, Myanmar and India, Bangladesh and India is CHEAPER, direct and faster.
                      Reply
                      1. S
                        Sagarmoy Jana
                        Mar 3, 2017 at 4:32 pm
                        I am amused how little some people understand about the trade and doesn't know that India uses stani soil for trade for a very long time.
                        Reply
                        1. O
                          Omkaranath Chuniyana
                          Mar 4, 2017 at 5:39 am
                          It will boost India's economy but what Indians wants is jobs.
                          Reply
                          1. A
                            Anand Ch
                            Mar 5, 2017 at 1:41 am
                            Improve local trains and tracks.
                            Reply
                            1. R
                              Rouf
                              Mar 3, 2017 at 2:49 pm
                              It is high time for India and stan to come togater and resolve all outstanding issues including Kashmir to make south Asia a more prosperous and happier place for living
                              Reply
                              1. R
                                Ridwan
                                Mar 4, 2017 at 6:42 pm
                                India conducts trade with stan. It does not use stan for transit en route to a third country as this plan proposes.
                                Reply
                                1. R
                                  Ridwan
                                  Mar 4, 2017 at 6:47 pm
                                  The hatred is actually more in India. Extremism in stan is more violent, but stanis as a w are apathetic to India aside from Kashmir human rights abuses and Bollywood. However, the extreme hatred of stan is extremely widespread in India, even if it is not yet violent. Notice which country bashes the other during elections. Only stani far right politicians who can't win elections mention India, while BJP and Congress bash stan daily. Because of your hatred for us, we are apathetic to you. We don't want war, but not do we want to be friends after you threaten every day to annihilate us.
                                  Reply
                                  1. R
                                    Ridwan
                                    Mar 4, 2017 at 6:42 pm
                                    Train to Istanbul? Keep dreaming.
                                    Reply
                                    1. S
                                      Sasi
                                      Mar 3, 2017 at 3:25 am
                                      China will use stan to block this route. China funds terrorism on any India/Pak links. Block china in SA affairs things will automatically gets corrected
                                      Reply
                                      1. S
                                        Shivam
                                        Mar 3, 2017 at 6:44 am
                                        apni biwi bhi dede stan ko. They will take care of her.
                                        Reply
                                        1. S
                                          Shivam
                                          Mar 3, 2017 at 6:44 am
                                          lol, what? It's just not practical. Good luck running through stan. More terrorism.
                                          Reply
                                          1. S
                                            S K
                                            Mar 3, 2017 at 8:42 am
                                            let us not be critical of stan before hand. Try and see their limitations , a great possibility of happening positively.
                                            Reply
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