A new Parcel Express Train operating Lahore-Karachi-Lahore via Faisalabad launched by Pakistan Railways last week, turned into a fiasco when just two of the 13 carriages were booked by forwarders.
Each carriage has a capacity of some 10 tonnes.
Prior to the launch, a senior official in the Ministry of Railways had described the service as "another important milestone of Pakistan Railways towards easy and speedy delivery of the cargo that will run initially twice a week from both sides.”
Big words but with little effect.
On the maiden trip, however, it turned out that only three forwarders had booked some 1,000 packages weighing 21,035 kilos on the trip to Karachi.
A commercial disaster!
Are forwarders boycotting the train?
An advertising campaign for the initial auction of the cargo carriages in early December had attracted reactions from some 20 forwarders. However, instead of handing in their bids to the tender committee on December 21, the forwarders presented a memorandum to a senior official of Pakistan Railways in which they criticised the "harsh terms and conditions" in the tender documents.
Earlier this month, an official in the Ministry of Railways indicated that Pakistan Railways would generate more than Rs12 billion (US$114.6 m) revenue through its country-wide network of freight trains during the current financial year.
Nol van Fenema