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Uzbekistan plans to involve Qatar to build the Trans-Afghan Railway

In a recent meeting held in Tashkent on October 23, Ilhom Makhkamov, the head of Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Transport, engaged in crucial talks with Hamid Isa Abdulla, the Qatari Deputy Minister of Transport, focusing on the development of bilateral cooperation in transport projects. A significant topic of discussion was Qatar’s potential involvement in the Trans-Afghan Railway project, a major initiative aimed at connecting the railway networks of Central and South Asia.

The proposed railway route, running through Afghanistan from Termez to Mazar-i-Sharif, Kabul, and Peshawar, is envisioned to be 760 km long. The project includes the construction of 136 bridges, three tunnels, and an accompanying overhead power line. This ambitious infrastructure venture is considered one of Uzbekistan’s most crucial foreign policy projects, with the goal of enhancing regional connectivity and stability.

The implementation of the Trans-Afghan Railway is expected to revolutionize the transportation landscape in the region. It promises to drastically reduce the current delivery times of goods from Pakistan to Uzbekistan from 35 days to merely 3-5 days. Additionally, the cost of transporting goods could decrease by nearly three times, making it an economically attractive route for freight traffic, which is projected to reach up to 10 million tons.

Industry Implications

For the furniture and home goods industry, the completion of the Trans-Afghan Railway could significantly impact logistics and supply chain dynamics. The reduction in transportation time and costs will not only speed up the delivery process but also enhance the economic feasibility of exporting products to and from Central Asia. This could open up new markets for businesses and facilitate smoother and more cost-effective trade routes.

Furthermore, the increased freight capacity and improved connectivity could encourage companies to explore new sourcing and distribution strategies, potentially leading to expanded business operations and partnerships across the involved regions.

This development underscores a significant stride towards improving regional cooperation and economic integration, reflecting the broader goals of Uzbekistan and its partners to enhance connectivity and foster economic growth in Central and South Asia.

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