Afghanistan : Hairatan to Mazar-e-Sharif Railway Project

Sovereign Project | 42533-022

ADB is helping Afghanistan build a 75-kilometer single-line railway between the town of Hairatan and Mazar-e-Sharif, the second largest city in the country. Hairatan serves as the gateway for almost half of Afghanistan's total imports. The project will also upgrade the train stations and provide institutional support to develop a railway sector plan.

Project Results

  • 4,006,000 cross-border cargo volume facilitated
  • 4,006,000 cross-border cargo volume facilitated
  • 4,006,000 cross-border cargo volume facilitated
  • 4,006,000 cross-border cargo volume facilitated

The results data reported above are limited to ADB's core sectors, as defined under Strategy 2020 and tracked through indicators in the ADB Results Framework. For definitions of results indicators, please see the ADB Results Framework Indicators Definition.

Project Details

  • Project Officer
    ADB Disclosure
    Central and West Asia Department
    Request for information
  • Country/Economy
  • Modality
  • Sector
    • Transport

Related Projects

Project Name Hairatan to Mazar-e-Sharif Railway Project
Project Number 42533-022
Country / Economy Afghanistan
Project Status Closed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant 0161-AFG: Hairatan to Mazar-e-Sharif Railway Project
Asian Development Fund US$ 165.00 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Regional integration
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Transport / Rail transport (non-urban)

Gender Gender equity

The Project involves the construction of a new 75 kilometers (km) railway line between Hairatan at the border with Uzbekistan and Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan. The Project represents a first phase of a larger rail network planned across the north and other parts of the country, including links to Herat, Tajikistan, and Pakistan. It will expand the existing transport network in Afghanistan and improve substantially internal and international connectivity. The Project is part of the Transport Strategy and Action Plan agreed under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program. It will add capacity to two transport corridors under CAREC and open up alternative routes of supply for national and international trade, as well as for humanitarian relief to Afghanistan.

The Project has two components: (i) design and construction of 75 km single-line railway and associated infrastructure; and (ii) project management, independent supervision, and institutional support. The Project will be executed through a fixed price and fixed time delivery engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) turnkey contract. Once constructed, tested, and commissioned, the rail service will be managed by an operator under an operation and maintenance contract.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The Project has strong rationale. First, it will develop a reliable, efficient, safe, and sustainable transport link within the country and between the country and its neighbors. Hairatan already doubles up as Afghanistan's most important dry and river port, acting as the gateway for almost half of Afghanistan's total imports. Key commodities and goods moving through this point include oil and fuel, wheat and flour, fertilizer, construction materials such as cement and bitumen, agricultural and off-highway equipment and

consumer goods. Hairatan is also a largest port for the supply of humanitarian relief to Afghanistan. However, the existing transport infrastructure and facilities at Hairatan cannot cope with an expanding volume of trade and humanitarian relief. An existing rail line between Termez in Uzbekistan and Hairatan does not have a rail link into Afghanistan. Freight destined for Afghanistan and beyond has to be off-loaded and reloaded into trucks at this border. This is both slow and extremely costly. Moreover, other established trade

and supply routes servicing Afghanistan are disrupted because of security constraints. The TermezHairatan railway line helps but Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries would benefit if this were to be extended into Mazar-e-Sharif ending at the airport there, which is being expanded with German assistance, and connecting to the Ring Road being financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). This expanded rail line will remove major critical physical bottlenecks at the border, quadrupling capacity and ultimately aiding regional trade.

A second important feature of the Project is its strong strategic and logistical content to countries in Central Asia. Afghanistan is the natural transit route to reach ports in Pakistan and the Caspian, for the onward sale of goods to South and East Asia, Middle East, and Europe. The railway line cuts bottlenecks at Hairatan, raises the profile of Afghanistan as a transit route and complements the connectivity improvements arising out of the two CAREC corridors (3 and 6), now under construction.

The Project fits well with the Government's development strategy and ADB's Country Partnership Strategy for 20092013. The latter flags transport as a priority area for assistance. The Project also fits well with the CAREC Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy and the Action Plan.

The Project will be implemented in line with ADB's approach to engaging with weakly performing countries.


Greater economic development and increased trade between Afghanistan and the region

Project Outcome
Description of Outcome

An efficient, safe, reliable railway transport network developed and operated in north Afghanistan.

Progress Toward Outcome

With the completion of railway project connecting the ring road and airport, an integrated transport network has developed and railway line is in operation since December 2011.

Variation Order #3 to construct security related infrastructure has been agreed, design completed, construction started in December 2012 and will be completed by March 2013.

Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

About 75 km of a new railway line and stations between Hairatan and Mazar-e-Sharif constructed and operated.

Railway sector plan endorsed by the Government, railway institution established and capacity building

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

Railway line and stations completed. the line has been in operation since December 2011.

Government review of draft railway legal framework and regulations completed.

Staff training on O&M is on going.

Geographical Location Hairatan, Kaldar, Mazar-e Sharif, Mazar-e Sharif, Nahri Shahi
Safeguard Categories
Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement B
Indigenous Peoples C
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects The Project is classified category B. The initial environmental examination (IEE) was prepared according to ADB's Environment Policy (2002) and Environmental Assessment Guidelines (2003). The Project will have no major long-term adverse impact on the environment. Short-term impacts are considered insignificant and temporary and will be mitigated through the implementation of an environmental management plan (EMP).
Involuntary Resettlement

The Project entails minor land acquisition and resettlement since most of the railway

route passes through uninhabited and unused desert land. The impact of the railway route is

only on 2 vacant plots. Based on this impact, the Project has been classified B for resettlement

purposes. A land acquisition and resettlement plan (LARP) was prepared

Indigenous Peoples

None of the people affected by the Project belongs to groups classified as indigenous

peoples under ADB's Policy on Indigenous Peoples (1998). The Project has been categorized

as C for impacts on indigenous peoples.

Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design

Consultations were conducted on 20, 27, 30 July and 8 August 2009 at Taza Omed, Gore-e-More, Qalinbafan's Camp and Hairatan, respectively. The issues discussed in the consultations included merits and demerits of the railway alignment, and land acquisition, and resettlement. The consultations were open for all to share and exchange views, ideas, and experiences. Consultation held with the people of Qalinbafan's Camp village on 14 August 2009 reassessed affected land, and presented position and ownership of land and its price. Discussion held with the Ministry of Public Works on 14 August 2009 focused on issues relating to affected land, prices of land, and the process of compensation.

Decisions and Recommendations of the Consultation Sessions

- railway must go through government land;

- agriculture land should not be used because it is limited for production;

- affected people should get cash compensation of any affected property including land so that they can use the money according to their choice; and

- they expressed their interest to establish the Project railway line because they will have safe transpiration and the prices will be cheaper and business facilities will be increased.

In conclusion of each consultation, local people welcomed this Project as they believe the Project will contribute to their socioeconomic development.

During Project Implementation The consultation process will be held from project design through implementation. MPW and the Project Company will play an important role in this process.
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services

Consultants were recruited in line with ADB's Guidelines on the Use of Consultants. A consulting firm to oversee the design and construction work was selected using ADB's quality- and cost-based selection procedures and the procurement plan agreed with ADB. Full technical proposals were required.

The executing agency procured advisory services for railway sector and institutional development. The individual consultants were selected and engaged in accordance with the Guidelines on the Use of Consultants and the procurement plan agreed with ADB.


Procurement of goods, civil works, and related services financed from the ADB grant were done in accordance with ADB's Procurement Guidelines. The Government requested for ADB's waiver to procure rail tracks from non ADB member countries, as the prices from non-member countries were more competitive than from member countries.

The Project involved one contract package by direct contracting with UTY for design, procurement and construct civil and railway works. The direct contracting allowed quick procurement process due to urgency of the Project. The direct contracting to UTY was justified for the following reasons (i) UTY was involved in the construction of existing railway line and station yard at Hairatan; (ii) UTY is currently operating and maintaining the existing railway line between Termez and Hairatan, the Hairatan station and marshalling yard, and (iii) UTY has strong track record in design, construction, operation, and maintenance of railways.

Responsible ADB Officer ADB Disclosure
Responsible ADB Department Central and West Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Transport and Communications Division, CWRD
Concept Clearance 09 Jul 2009
Fact Finding 09 Aug 2009 to 18 Aug 2009
MRM 25 Aug 2009
Approval 30 Sep 2009
Last Review Mission -
PDS Creation Date 09 Jul 2009
Last PDS Update 25 Mar 2013

Grant 0161-AFG

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
30 Sep 2009 30 Sep 2009 03 Nov 2009 31 Dec 2011 31 Dec 2012 05 Apr 2013
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 170.00 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 165.00 25 Mar 2013 155.53 0.00 94%
Counterpart 5.00 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 25 Mar 2013 155.53 0.00 94%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating Satisfactory Satisfactory Satisfactory Satisfactory - Satisfactory

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