The U.S. Trade and Development Agency has awarded a $628,000 grant to Premier Mercantile Services (PMS), a private sector port and freight logistics operator in Pakistan, to help facilitate the acquisition and operation of a fleet of locomotives on the existing Karachi-Lahore Railway.
This initiative is central to improving the capacity of one of Pakistan's most important trade corridors, and promoting continued economic growth in northern Pakistan, USTDA said.
To fix a shortage of properly maintained locomotives, Pakistan Railways will allow PMS to operate a fleet of locomotives using the railroad’s existing rolling stock and infrastructure. Initially, the trains will operate between Karachi and Lahore but the project also considers the eventual expansion of the project northbound from Lahore into Afghanistan.
The USTDA-funded technical assistance will provide PMS with an assessment of future freight volumes, security and communications needs, and financing requirements for the project.
"Assisting PMS with its planning for locomotive acquisitions will help improve trade flows and access to the international market for northern Pakistan and potentially Afghanistan," said USTDA Regional Director Henry Steingass, in a statement. "This project also represents significant opportunities for U.S. companies in Pakistan's growing transportation sector, and USTDA is pleased to partner with PMS in this important endeavor."
As a next step, PMS will select a U.S. contractor to perform the feasibility study. The opportunity to conduct the USTDA-funded study will be competed on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) Website. A link to the FBO announcement will be posted to USTDA's Website