Uzbekistan Builds Afghanistan Railway

Uzbekistan’s national rail company, Uzbekistan Temir Yullari (UTY), is constructing the 75-kilometer rail link between Hairatan at the border of Uzbekistan and the city of Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. Involvement of an Uzbek company in the project represents a vivid sample of cooperation between two CAREC member countries.

Starting from the rail-served Hairatan freight terminal on the Afghan bank of the Amu Darya River, the 1,520 mm gauge single track line will run through relatively easy terrain to the outskirts of Mazar-e-Sharif. The $170 million project is planned for completion in June 2011. In September 2009, the Asian Development Bank agreed to provide a $165 million grant to Afghanistan to finance the project. The government share amounts to $5 million.

The rail project will have a significant economic impact, as almost half of Afghanistan’s imports pass through Hairatan. It represents a first phase of a larger rail network planned across the north and other parts of the country, including links to Herat (western Afghanistan), Tajikistan, and Pakistan. The project will also add capacity to two CAREC transport corridors—Corridor 3 and Corridor 6—and open up alternative routes of supply for national and international trade, as well as for humanitarian relief to Afghanistan.

UTY is directly contracted to design, procure, and construct civil and railway works. The company was involved in the construction of existing railway line and station yard at Hairatan and is currently operating and maintaining the existing railway line between Termez and Hairatan, the Hairatan station, and the marshalling yard.

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