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Dubai, Pakistan Collaborate On Rail, Economic Zones And Infrastructure Improvement
(18 January 2024)


The governments of Dubai and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have signed two Inter-Governmental Framework Agreements to strengthen their relations in the marine and logistics sectors, including the potential establishment of a Dedicated Freight Corridor and Economic Zone near Karachi.

The agreements were signed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, by Shahid Ashraf Tarar, Federal Minister of Communication, Railways and Maritime Affairs, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC), Government of Dubai.

DP World will act on behalf of the Dubai Government, while state-run Pakistan Railways and Port Qasim Authority will act on behalf of the Pakistan Government, for the development of the projects.

The Dedicated Freight Corridor is planned to run from Karachi Port on the Arabian Sea, passing through Karachi, Pakistan’s most populous city, to the Pipri Marshalling Yard, approximately 45 km away. This will improve efficiency and transport times, and reduce the overall cost of logistics.

Headquartered in Lahore, Pakistan Railways is Pakistan’s national, state-owned railway company, owning and operating nearly 8,000 km of railway across the country, from Torkham in the northwest to Karachi in the south.

A second framework agreement was signed with Pakistan’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs to dredge the navigation channel. DP World will carry out the capital dredging on behalf of the Government of Dubai.

This framework agreement will also see the development of an economic zone at Port Qasim, which aims to attract more than US$3 billion of foreign direct investment. DP World, on behalf of the Government of Dubai, will carry out the development of the economic zone, with the aim of maximising economic activity in Pakistan.

DP World began operations in Pakistan in 1997 at the Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) – the first of its kind in the country – and has since transformed the facility into a leading gateway for global trade in the region.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of PCFC and Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, said, “Pakistan is a growing market, and an important trade corridor to Central Asia. We are proud to have contributed to its trading ability through our operations at Qasim International Container Terminal and are honoured to work with various Pakistani government organisations to develop new freight systems and with Port Qasim Authority to enhance port connectivity and investment. These will help serve Pakistan’s growing population, forecast to approach 300 million in the coming decade, and integrate it further into the wider region.”

Shahid Ashraf Tarar, Federal Minister of Communication, Railways and Maritime Affairs, said, “DP World has a long-standing proud presence in Pakistan witnessed by mutually rewarding engagement. Building on the unwavering trust and partnership, the two brotherly countries have decided to further consolidate economic cooperation through landmark projects. The signing of Investment Framework Agreements highlights the importance of Pakistan as a gateway to Asia and commercial dividends associated with its strategic location”.

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