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Uzbekistan extends contract on railway maintenance in Afghanistan

21 March 2015

Uzbekistan Railways State Joint-Stock Railway Company has extended the contract for the operation and maintenance of the Hairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif railway line in Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s embassy in Uzbekistan told Trend.

"The agreement on the contract extension has been signed between the Uzbekistan Railways and the Ministry of Public Works of Afghanistan this week,” a representative of the embassy said.

The contract has been extended for three years. According to the new terms of the contract, the Uzbek side will receive $ 19 million per year for the railway maintenance.

The Uzbek side was charged with training 150 railway engineers for Afghanistan and ensuring the transportation for exporting at least four million metric tons of Afghan goods as part of a new agreement.

Earlier, the goods were only imported to Afghanistan via the Hairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif railway line.

Uzbekistan Railways completed the construction of the Hairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif railway line in 2010. Earlier, Uzbekistan Railways won the tender announced by the government of Afghanistan. Uzbek specialists built a railway stretching 75 kilometers, several stations and reconstructed the Hairatan existing station. The gauge width of the railway line is 1,520 millimeters.

The project was implemented through the Asian Development Bank’s grant in the amount of $ 165 million allocated to the government of Afghanistan and the Afghan government's own funds (about $5 million).

Almost a half of Afghanistan's imports, as well as many humanitarian goods, are transported through the Hairatan river port (located on the Amu Darya).

Commissioning of the railway has greatly increased the freight traffic.

The railway traffic was opened in December 2011. The government of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan Railways concluded a contract for operation and maintenance of the Hairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif railway line for a period of three years in 2011. According to the contract, the Uzbek side annually receives $32 million (plus additional payment) for the agreed traffic volumes.

Uzbekistan Railways established Sogdiana Trans subsidiary for the railway maintenance in Afghanistan.