The world community is getting closer to the new transit "Kabul Corridor"
As you know, today, July 26, the Tashkent International Conference “Afghanistan: security and economic development” was held in Tashkent. Within the framework of this international forum, a plenary session was held, as well as a breakout session on the implementation of a number of infrastructure and humanitarian projects.
The initial topic of the sectional meeting was devoted to the implementation of one of the major projects “Construction of the railway route "Termez - Mazar-i-Sharif - Kabul - Peshawar" ("Kabul Corridor") with a length of 760 km. The acting Chairman of the Board of JSC “Uzbekistan Railways” H. Khasilov took part in the work of the section.
“Specialists of the Working Group have already carried out a preliminary study of the railway construction project, prepared calculations and proposals for laying the route,” says Kh. Khasilov. “The field expedition to study the new route of the railway corridor will begin its work in the near future and will be completed by the end of this year.”
A video presentation on the implementation of this project was held, which clearly demonstrated the step-by-step implementation of each stage. In particular, information is provided regarding the preliminary calculations of the Head Institute for the Design of Railways and Related Infrastructure of the Republic of Uzbekistan JSC “Boshtransloyiha”. Thus, this project includes the construction of more than 1200 artificial structures, including 3 tunnels, over 100 crossings and 336 bridges. It is planned to build 33 railway stations, 187 km of station tracks, 785 km of power supply lines, 790 km of communication lines. The estimated cost of the project will be about 4.6 billion U.S. dollars, the expected duration of the project is 5 years.
The projected railway line "Termez - Mazar-i-Sharif - Kabul - Peshawar" will create new and shortest transit corridors, connecting the largest markets of Southeast Asia with the markets of the CIS countries, China and Europe. In general, the implementation of the trans-Afghan railway project will reduce the time and cost of cargo transportation by 30-40%. Estimated traffic volumes for the first year of operation can grow to 3 million tons, and by 2030 more than 15 million tons per year.
Along with this, dozens of mineral deposits located in the central part of Afghanistan are involved in the economic turnover, more than 5 million new jobs are being created and new professions are being formed, including those related to the operation of railway transport. From the implementation of the project, up to 15 million residents of the region will become beneficiaries.
In addition, the new railway will connect 10 provinces of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan and will become the main transport and logistics highway for the region. In addition, in the direction of the new railway line, projects are being implemented to lay high-voltage power lines "Surkhan - Puli-Khumri" and CASA - 1000. The length of the railway proposed for construction from Mazar-i-Sharif (Afghanistan) to Peshawar (Pakistan) is estimated to be 760 km with a track gauge of 1520 mm and the transition on the Afghan-Pakistani border to the 1676 mm gauge.
Given the important geostrategic position of Central Asia, which since the earliest times has been connecting the largest international markets through the historical “Great Silk Road”, in modern conditions, the unification of the efforts of our countries in order to accelerate the integration of the region into the system of international transport corridors is of particular importance. The existing transport corridors undoubtedly have great potential for development, however, there are shorter routes for the formation of more optimal corridors connecting Southeast Asia with other countries of Eurasia. According to UN experts, thanks to effective transport cooperation between Afghanistan and other countries, regional GDP can at least double in 10 years.
It is worth emphasizing that over the past period, certain work has been carried outto form the “Termez-Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar” railway corridor:
- for the first time, the Kabul Corridor project was presented to the general public in September 2018;
- in the same year, 2018, a multilateral Working Group and a project office for coordination of work were created;
- in order to train Afghan specialists-engineers for the operation and maintenance of railways in Termez, in 2018, an educational center was established, which is funded by the Republic of Uzbekistan;
- February 16-18, 2021 negotiations were held with representatives of IFIs on the construction of the railway. All participants supported the relevance of the route;
- preparations are being made for a field expedition along the entire route of the railway. The expedition will take place in the near future in 2022, with the support and funding of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan;
- work is underway to create orthophotomaps and a digital elevation model with funding from the Republic of Uzbekistan.
- work is underway to form a preliminary feasibility study for the project. Completion date end of 2022.
Recall that in 2010, at the expense of credit funds from the Asian Development Bank, the profile construction and bridge-building enterprises of JSC “Uzbekistan Railways” built the first 75 km of the railway in a short period of 10 months. Over the entire period of operation, the Sogdiana Trans subsidiary of the Uz JSC “Uzbekistan Railways” transported more than 25 million tons of cargo along the Hairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif route.
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