Pakistan approves strategic $6.8billion ML-1 project under CPEC

ML-1 project described as the “milestone of CPEC”. Project to be completed in 3 phases

Pakistan’s Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the $6.8 billion ML-1 rail project to be undertaken as a part of CPEC.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the meeting of ECNEC at the Cabinet Division. The relatively brief meeting approved a total of projects worth 1.234 trillion rupees.

Chairman CPEC Authority Lt. Gen. (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa confirmed the news via twitter. The approval includes the dry port in Havelian as well.  

“Alhamdolillah, ECNEC has approved the transformational railway project at a cost of $6.806 billion from Peshawar to Karachi (1,872km) including Havelian Dry Port and upgrading the Walton Academy,” the tweet read.

The project will be completed in three stages. In the first phase, construction work worth $2.4 billion will be performed to ensure that the $2.5 billion project cost ceiling set by IMF during its programs is not breached. The second and third phases will cost $2.7 billion and $1.7 billion respectively.

The project under CPEC was agreed upon in 2016 and the technical feasibility was made in 2018. Under this project, the current 2,655km track will be upgraded.

ML-1 project features

  • Modernization of 1872-km long track
  • Doubling of entire track from Karachi to Peshawar
  • Speed of passenger trains to be enhanced to 160 km/h – almost the double from now
  • Capacity to increase from 34 to over 171 trains each way per day
  • Freight trains to operate at 120 km/h
  • Freight trains load to be increased from 2400 to 3400 tons
  • Electronic signaling and control system
  • Grade separation to ensure the safety of train operations

Key facts of ML-1 Project under CPEC

Karachi BRT moves forward

ECNEC also gave the nod to the change in cost sharing ratios of the ADB and its co-financing partners for the construction of BRT Red Line Project, Karachi. The total cost of the project is 78.38 billion rupees including FEC of 66.38 billion rupees (with cattle based bio-methane as fuel technology). The project was approved by ECNEC in August last year.

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