Strengthening efficiency of Transport & Logistics for Domestic Commerce and Regional Connectivity  

Engineering Post Report

Infrastructure development results in the socio-economic development  of the country and also acts as one of the indicators  of the annual economic growth. When  transport networks are  expanded,  they create  possibilities and benefit for the national economy  and society at large with positive  consequences including  increased employment, market  accessibility and investment. On the other hand, inadequate transport networks can result in reduced opportunities as well as lower quality of life at a huge cost to the national economy.

Given its advantageous geographic location, Pakistan  has the potential  to grow its economy  through  transit trade. Being part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Central Asia regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) and Khyber Pass Economic Corridor (KPEC) has tremendous potential for .revenue generation  through road and rail connectivity.  The Federal Government  along with the provincial stakeholders  was making efforts to invest  in the road and rail connectivity  throughout the country and accordingly working on various policies  and plans  to facilitate  the transit trade  thus boosting  the economy of the country.

Following the approval of the National Transport Policy 2018,  as an overarching /guiding document for helping ,planning and managing  (maintaining/operating)  the transport structure, in alignment with the Vision 2025. The document sets the policy  standards for each  sub-sector and mode of transportation. Transportation system in Pakistan  quite obviously needs modernization. The National Transport Master Plan as such was in the final stages of approval and many  actions under the policy and  the plan were already being adopted and implemented  at the  appropriate levels, according to the  information available from the official sources concerned. .

In  recent years the work in the transport infrastructure projects was carried out  in the districts of the Southern Punjab, Southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Southern Balochistan based on  equitable regional development  of  the poor districts especially in the transport   sector with the Federal Government funding. The road projects  under Southern Balochistan development package connecting  the Iranian border with the national network was approved and started. The Federal Government  also announced  the implementation  of the Dera Ismail Khan  Package in 2022-23.

The CPEC  projects were re-initiated/started  with full swing and the negotiations  with the Chinese side especially regarding the project  of Main Line (ML-1) and Karachi Circular Railway  were restarted  which was indeed a welcome breakthrough.  

Pakistan was hit with the flash floods in July 2022 and major roads and rail structure was badly damaged. With the help ,cooperation and assistance  of the Donor agencies World Bank , Asian Development Bank and others, major road rehabilitation  projects in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan were approved and initiated under the 4RF programme,4R Framework outlines programmatic priorities, policy  framework, institutional arrangements, financial strategy, and implementation plans for resilient  , recovery ,rehabilitation and reconstruction. The Public Sector Development  Programme (PSDP) of the Federal Government for financial year 2022-23 provided an outlay of Rs 190.244 billion  under the Transport  sector. Against this, an expenditure of Rs 137.804 billion  was reported to have  been incurred by end June 2023  giving an overall  utilization of 72.4 percent.. Owing to financial constraints, only 75 percent of the funds allocated were authorized and released for the projects implementation to the executing agencies. Many Road  sector projects under various Federal Ministries were ongoing, therefore,  an amount of Rs 151.25 billion was originally allocated towards the road sector, the sources pointedly stated.