Pakistan’s bus manufacturing industry thrives with Chinese cooperation

ISLAMABAD: During the last few years, Pakistan’s auto industry emerged as one of the fastest growing industries, contributing 3-4% to the gross domestic product, and also providing jobs to over 3.5 million people in different forms.
With the established infrastructure of motorways across the country, the transport and travel industry has flourished tremendously during the last couple of years as the latest and most comfortable buses are plying from one corner to the second end of the country, making the journey a pleasant experience for passengers contrary to the past.
Following the assembling plants of various car brands, Yutong and Zongtong, leading buses and vehicles manufactures in China, have established assembling plants in Pakistan, with joint ventures of Pakistani entrepreneurs.
Back in 2013, Yutong signed a technical licence agreement with Pakistan’s Master Motor Corporation (Pvt) Ltd and the first bus produced at this plant came in February 2016. Master Motors since then have assembled approximately 2,000 buses in Pakistan operating from different travel companies.
It has also been estimated that Yutong buses, including intercity buses, city buses and different shuttle buses, are plying on Pakistan’s roads, and leading transport companies are making their buses from Yutong Master Bus joint venture.
Daewoo Pakistan and other leading transport companies in the past used to import buses from China and today all leading transport companies across the country are ordering Pakistan-assembled buses. With these initiatives, the sector is going to become self-sufficient to cater for the local needs of luxury and comfort buses of the country and in the future, hopes are high that Pakistan would be able to export locally-assembled buses to Central Asian countries, Middle East and African countries.
Apart from big names of bus manufacturing industries in the country, buses are also being manufactured and assembled at smaller scale in major cities of Pakistan including Lahore, Sheikhupura (in Punjab province) and Karachi (in Sindh province).
Nadeem Ahmed, Manager Ganj Bux Bus Body Makers, Lahore, said they import parts of busses from China and assemble buses as per need of their customers. He added that a bus takes 35-40 days in manufacturing, where 20-30 workers, including welders, blacksmiths, metal fixers, and carpenters, do manufacturing work on assembling and framing, painting, seats, and all respective formalities of bus manufacturing.
He said that presently, an imported bus costs Rs35-45 million, but locally, with imported spare parts, this very bus is being manufactured at around Rs17-20 million.
“We also assemble buses on old frames of Hino, Isuzo, Daewoo, and also manufacture double-glass body-buses of Youtong at our workshops,” he said.
Commenting about durability, comfort level and quality of buses manufactured locally in Lahore, he was of the view that they manufacture buses in accordance with the road infrastructure of Pakistan, and in view of local conditions, and use best quality sheets and iron frames and other respective tools to enhance the buses quality.
Zongtong has also established bus assembling unit in Karachi in collaboration with Pakistani entrepreneurs, which imports CBU (complete build-up) and CKD (complete knocked down) bus from China, and assemble them locally.
Assistant Manager Quality at Zongtong Karachi, Asad Ahmed told WealthPK that since 2019, they have been working with Zongtong and import CBU and assembled buses for leading Pakistan transport services like Faisal Movers, Warraich Transport and Khawaja Travels. He said that assembling a bus with all respective features takes about five days to complete and the bus’s cost ranges between Rs32-34 million.
The assembling industry is flourishing in Pakistan with the assistance of Germany and China, and electric buses will soon be on Pakistan’s roads to cater to the needs of intercity commuters.
Vice Chairman All Pakistan Public Transport Owners Association Farooq Bandiyal said the transport sector is flourishing in the country with the arrival of modern and comfortable buses. He stated that world-class buses manufacturing companies are establishing their plants and assembling units in Pakistan, which will further boost the industry in Pakistan.