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Transport and Logistical Potential of Uzbekistan Railway Corridor

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By Roy Lie Atjam

Rotterdam, 2 November 2022, The Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan hosted a networking event revolving around the Transport and Logistical Potential of the Uzbekistan Railway corridor.

The event was in connection with the visit of a delegation of Uzbek Railways: Mr Akmal Kamalov – Deputy Chairman of the Board JSC “Uzbekistan Railways” and Mr Ismatilla Irgashev – Special Representative of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Afghanistan.

Speakers were: the Deputy Chairperson of Uzbek Railways Mr. Akmal Kamalov.

Mr Ismatilla Irgashev – Special Representative of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Afghanistan. He observed that the Current Afghanistan government is more eager about the railway project.

A FENEX partner gave a presentation on Smart Container.

The Trans Afghan Rail Corridor is underway a mega-investment of approx. $5.96b. 

In a recent meeting with the European Council, the Uzbekistan government announced its opening of the Trans-Afghan Corridor to Foreign Direct Investors. 

The presentation has revealed the possibilities and opportunities of several corridors linking Uzbekistan to global markets. It also showcased the transport potential of Uzbekistan, its place and its potential to become a link of importance between Europe and Asia.

Some brief background data.

The development of international trade relations and the acceleration of growth in the volume of freight transportation have led to the emergence of the transport corridors as the backbone elements of international logistics systems.

The existing transport corridors undoubtedly have great potential for development, however, there are shorter routes for the formation of the more optimal corridors connecting South and Southeast Asia with other countries of Eurasia.

The current geopolitical situation,  new alternative routes and transport corridors is becoming more urgent. In this situation, the issue under question becomes more relevant due to the transport cooperation with Afghanistan.

The formation of railway communication in Afghanistan dates back to 2010. The first is “Hairatan – Mazar-i-Sharif”, with a length of 75 km.

Over the past period, work has been carried out to form the Termez–Mazar-i-Sharif–Kabul–Peshawar railway corridor. In 2018, the multilateral Working Group and the Project Office were established to coordinate the works. 

In 2021 negotiations were held with representatives of IFIs on the construction of the railway (WB, ADB, EBRD, IDB, AIIB, EIB). All participants supported the relevance of the route.

In 2022, the forum on the theme “Afghanistan: Security and Economic Development” was held in Tashkent, dedicated to strengthening peace, stability and economic recovery.

The formation of the new transport corridor as the continuation of the railway section in Afghanistan to the Pakistani border is an urgent task for the Eurasian countries.

In July and  August 2022, a field expedition took place along the entire route.The expedition was supported and financed by the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, work is underway to create orthophoto maps and a digital elevation model with funding from the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Following the results of the field expedition, the terms of reference for the development of a feasibility study were prepared.

The estimated cost of the project will be about 6 billion US Dollars, the expected duration of the project is five years.

Plans are to build 31 railway stations and 1,212 new structures, including five tunnels (5, 19, 26.7, 16.5, 9.7 km), 336 bridges and overpasses, and 107 crossings. The estimated cost is about 6 billion US Dollars, and the duration of the project is five years.

An important issue is to ensure safety during transportation through the territory of Afghanistan.The Government of Afghanistan guarantees the security at all the stages of work.

It should be noted that since August 2021, the new Afghan government has been fulfilling its obligations to ensure security during forwarding, loading and unloading operations in Afghanistan for the Uzbek company “Sogdiana Trans”.

The Afghan government(2021) has been fulfilling its obligations to ensure security during forwarding, loading and unloading operations in Afghanistan for the Uzbek company “Sogdiana Trans”.

Summarizing the above, we can say that the implementation of the project for the construction of the railway line Termez – Mazar-i-Sharif – Kabul – Peshawar” will further serve as a bridge to connect South- and Southeast Asia with Central Asia to Europe through Afghanistan, will accelerate the implementation of infrastructure projects in the energy sector, develop load areas, and discover new deposits.

The delivery time of goods from Uzbekistan to Pakistan will be reduced by 40%. The distance by 20-30%, 5 million new jobs will appear, including railway workers, new professions and jobs with turn up, and access to the ports of the Indian Ocean, in general, the socio-economic situation in the region will develop.

Today, the railway, logistics and other business companies from different countries, as well as international financial institutions are showing interest in the construction project of the railway line “Termez – Mazar-i-Sharif – Kabul – Peshawar”.

In conclusion, to accelerate the implementation of the project for the construction of the railway line “Termez – Mazar-i-Sharif – Kabul – Peshawar”, as well as the education of Afghan citizens and high-quality personnel training in the training centre in the city of Termez, we invite the IFIs, donor countries, business companies and others stakeholders to participate in financing and implementation of the project.

We invite IFIs, donor countries, business companies and other interested parties to participate in the financing of the feasibility study of the project, acquisition of the necessary rolling stock, digitalization, etc.

The presentation has attracted individuals from the Dutch logistics business and had its focus on international business &trade, public-private partnerships and investment opportunities for a new sustainable transport corridor between Central and South Asia and the Netherlands.

The event ended with a Q&A session and a networking reception featuring the world-renowned Uzbekistan dish Pilaf and other delicacies.

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