The Afghanistan Railway Authority (AfRA) executed and officially singed a new Operation and Maintenance (O&M)

The Afghanistan Railway Authority (AfRA) executed and officially singed a new Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Contract for the Hairatan to Mazar-e-Sharif railway line on 15th of March 2015, with the Operator “SE Sogdiana Trans” of the Republic of Uzbekistan.  This new contract is called MOMTC (expires on 4 December 2017) and will provide the following four services: Management, Operation & Infrastructure Maintenance of the line and will provide a comprehensive, theoretical and practical Training for the AfRA’s personnel.

Hairatan on the border with Uzbekistan serves as gateway for half of Afghanistan’s external trade, while Mazar-e-Sharif is Afghanistan’s fourth-largest city and major trading center in the north.  The construction of this railway line of 75Km was completed in 2011 and since then the operation and maintenance work has been going on.  During each operation year, about 2.5 million tons of goods were transported on the Hairatan – Mazar-e-Sharif railway line, strengthening the local economy, increasing regional trade, promoting regional cooperation, and helping Afghanistan begin to redefine its role in the region.

The Hairatan – Mazar-e-Sharif railway line has brought positive economic effects since it was built.  The lower transport cost have reduced the price of goods and have resulted in higher quality goods coming into the country.  More than 7 million people have benefited from this line through jobs and increased trade.  This has included freight operators, traders, businesses, and the local communities.

Having an efficient, safe, and reliable railway transport network operating in northern Afghanistan has shown an overall employment growth of over 10% per year since 2010.  About 1,200 people are currently employed in logistics and unloading operations, while more jobs are expected to merge in logistics services at railroad stations.

This railway line forms part of the Transport Corridors 3 & 6 of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC), connecting the Central Asia to the South Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East. At a later stage, this railway network will be extended to Herat in the West via Sheberghan – Andkhoy – Aqina with connection to Turkmenistan and Tajikistan in the east via Kunduz – Sherkhan Bandar, which is part of another project called (Northern Afghanistan Railway Project).