Uzbekistan will open railway transportation to Afghanistan after signing new deal – Uzbekistan Railways

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Galaba-Khairatan railway line to Afghanistan will be opened after the signing of a deal between the Sogdiana trans and the Afghan railway authority, the Uzbekistan Railways said.

Uzbekistan Railways has suspended transportation to Afghanistan at the Khairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif section starting from February 1. The step was prompted “failure to perform by the Afghan authorities of the agreed technical work.”

Reportedly, the leadership of the Afghan railway authority has been and incorrectly interpreting the agreement terms for servicing the section of Khairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif railway. In December 2022, the Afghan publication TOLOnews reported that the Kazakh company Mansour Fatih was awarded the contract to service the Khairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif railway section, but Uzbekistan later denied this information, saying that negotiations were still underway.

Also, no explanation was given about the impossibility on the part of Afghanistan to perform technical work at the Khairatan station within the timeframes set by it, while information was disseminated that the Afghan Railways authority signed an agreement with the Mansour Fatih company to organize the unloading and return of the wagons delivered to the Khairatan station. Unfortunately, this authority organization did not have time to organize work at the Khairatan station within the agreed period until January 31”.

In addition, according to Uzbekistan Railways, Sogdiana Trans had been holding meetings with businesses and helping them organize the transportation of goods by temporary vehicles to support them, however, “there is information that a neighboring country recommends entrepreneurs not to transport goods by road.”

According to the company, “at the request of the leadership of the Afghan Railways” at the beginning of next week in Termez it is planned to sign a new contract between Sogdiana Trans and the Afghan Railway Authority to organize the transportation of goods by rail to Afghanistan, the delivery of goods to the Khairatan station and their export .

“From the date of signing the agreement, we will inform you about the opening of the Galaba-Khairatan railway,” the statement added.

As reported in April 2022, Uzbekistan could lose the right to manage the railway because the Afghan caretaker government intends to take the railways in the country under its own control. Uzbekistan Railways then stated that the Afghan Railway Authority (ARA) was “fully satisfied” with the work of the Uzbek company, since 2011, operating the Khairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif line. At the same time, the Afghan media wrote that the ARA intended to gradually take over control.

“We paid the Uzbek company Sogdiana Trans (a subsidiary of Uzbekistan Railway) $15 million (previously reported $18 million), and it served 22 km of tracks, only in the port of Khairatan. The new company will serve 106 km,” said the acting chief of the Afghan railway department Bakht Rahman Sharafat, speaking about the contract entered into with the Kazakh company Mansour Fatih

Sogdiana Trans was established in December 2011 to operate and maintain the Khairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif railway line in Afghanistan. Uzbekistan Railways completed the construction of a 75 km line at a cost of $129 million in November 2010.