The Turkish Trade Ministry hosted a welcome ceremony in Istanbul on Friday to commemorate the operational launch of the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul Road Transport Corridor Project.
The event marked the successful delivery of commercial cargo on Pakistani trucks to Turkey.
The trucks had departed from Karachi on September 27. The cargo caravan reached the Turkish metropolitan city of Istanbul on Thursday, after travelling 5,300 kilometres.
Dignitaries from the three states attended the ceremony. The guest list included Pakistan’s envoy to Turkey, senior Iranian officials, and Economic Cooperation Organization. Officials from the International Road Union (IRU), Turkey’s Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), and other participants from the public and private sector were also present.
“River of commerce” between three nations
Speaking at the event, Pakistan’s ambassador to Turkey Syrus Sajjad Qazi said, “I would only like to say there is a saying in almost every language, in our language, Urdu, also, that drops, when they are taken together become a river.”
Qazi said, “These are the first drops that will become a river of commerce between and among Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, and bring all three people together.”
Logistics chief of Turkey’s Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges Asli Calik said, “It is an extremely important corridor for the development of our road trade with the Middle East and regional countries.”
Calik said that Pakistan is now more integrated into international trade thanks to the project. He said that Turkey’s exports to China will be able to be developed through Pakistan on the route.
General Manager Marketing at National Logistics Cell (NLC) Shaukat Abbas said that the project would enhance the relationship between all three countries.
Emphasizing Iran’s full commitment to supporting the project, General Director at Iran Transport Ministry Javed Hedayati said, “It’s a good sample for doing with other neighbours and regional collaboration.”
A decade-old dream
Turkey’s Trade Ministry and its counterparts in Iran and Pakistan had envisioned the project under the aegis of ECO about a decade ago. The three countries agreed to establish the road transport corridor at the 8th Meeting of ECO Ministers of Transport and Communications in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, in 2011.