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Single Track Connection

The pre-project study of the feasibility of the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan railroad’s construction has been finalized.
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Traditional logistics chains are undergoing transformation while the important role of routes passing through Central Asian countries is continuing to grow. Meanwhile, Uzbekistan and Pakistan lack any railroad connection between the countries. The construction of the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan railroad line could be just the right solution.

All three countries are interested in the construction of the future thoroughfare. The new transport corridor will be able to connect the countries of the “1,520 gauge” space – the European Union, Russia, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and further Southeast Asian states – into a single route.

According to Umidulla Ibragimov, head of marketing and logistics at Uzbekistan Temir Yollari JSC (UTY, Uzbekistan Railways), the current trade turnover between India, Pakistan, and European Union countries, which passes through the Suez Canal, is estimated at more than 40 million tons per year. “At the same time, Russia and the 1,520 gauge countries are also experiencing growing trade with India and Pakistan. Summing up all the cargoes, the total transit potential of the corridor at the initial stage is estimated to be about 15 million tons,” he believes.

The science-based research findings and benefits of creating the Kabul Corridor were first presented in 2018. An extended presentation of the project with video demonstration took place as early as 2022.

Now, the pre-project study of the future road’s feasibility has been finalized. Preliminary calculations were performed by specialists from the BOSHTRANSLOYIHA Transportation Design and Survey Institute. They organized an expedition along the proposed route, after which a digital model of the route was created on the basis of ortho-photo plans provided by the O'ZGASHKLITI State Design and Research Institute of Engineering Surveys in Construction, Geoinformatics, and Urban Cadaster.

"This is a pre-project feasibility study of sorts, indicating the preliminary length and location of the main line; the number of possible stations; engineering, technical, and domestic facilities; as well as other information," Umidulla Ibragimov informed 1520 International.

The Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan railroad project is estimated at $5 billion.

At this stage, UTY has signed a contract with E&Y through a competitive bidding process, according to which the contractor will prepare presentation materials for the project in accordance with all international standards. UTY noted that the work on the materials is now nearing completion.

According to Umidulla Ibragimov, these materials will be provided to potential investors for a more detailed study of the project. In turn, based on that feedback, UTY will gain an idea of how much investors are currently willing to invest in the feasibility study and the line’s construction.

"We are willing to consider various financing options – grants, consortiums, and funds raised from private businesses. The project has more of a commercial basis," the interlocutor says.

In May of this year, a project office was opened in Tashkent to coordinate the construction of the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan railroad line for further joint efforts.

It is assumed that the gauge of the new “Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan” railroad will be 1,520 mm, which will be a logical continuation of the Khairaton-Mazar-e-Sharif railroad, built in 2010, with a length of 75 km entailing a similar gauge.

“Our designers and builders have experience implementing similar projects in mountainous areas. In particular, these are the electrified Tashguzar-Boisun-Kumkurgan or Angren-Pop lines in the east of the country, which are just as challenging as the new highway in terms of the complexity of construction,” Umidulla Ibragimov pointed out.

Sergey Volkov

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