A welcoming ceremony was held Friday by the Turkish Trade Ministry in Istanbul after the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul Road Transport Corridor Project successfully carried commercial cargo on Pakistani trucks to Turkey.
The trucks departed Sept. 27 from Karachi and reached the Turkish metropolitan city of Istanbul on Thursday, covering 5,300 kilometers (3,293 miles).
Pakistan's envoy to Turkey, senior Iranian officials, Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), International Road Union (IRU), Turkey's Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) and other participants representing the public and private sector attended the ceremony.
The Project was launched by Turkey’s Trade Ministry and counterparts in Iran and Pakistan under the aegis of ECO.
Drops when they are taken together become a river
"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," Pakistan's ambassador to Turkey said at the event.
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, said Syrus Sajjad Qazi.
Asli Calik, head of department, transport and logistical systems at TOBB, said: "It is an extremely important corridor for the development of our road trade with the Middle East and regional countries."
Calik said that thanks to the project, Pakistan is now more integrated into international trade and also Turkey's exports to China will be able to be developed through Pakistan on the route.
Shaukat Abbas, General Manager Marketing at National Logistics Cell (NLC), said the project would enhance the relationship between all three countries.
Javed Hedayati, General Director at Iran Transport Ministry, also emphasized Iran’s full commitment to supporting the project, adding "it's a good sample for doing with other neighbors and regional collaboration."
The decision to establish the road transport corridor was made at the 8th Meeting of ECO Ministers of Transport and Communications in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, in 2011.