News ID: 277642
Published: 0754 GMT December 03, 2020

Iran's first export consignment reaches Afghanistan via Khaf-Herat railroad

Iran's first export consignment reaches Afghanistan via Khaf-Herat railroad

The first consignment of Iranian export goods has arrived in Afghanistan through the long-awaited Khaf-Herat railroad, which is slated to be officially inaugurated in coming days.

The cement shipment was transferred from Iran to Afghanistan's Herat via rail, according to Jilani Farhad, spokesman for Herat governor, Press TV reported Wednesday evening.

The consignment was reportedly dispatched on a trial basis to identify possible problems and challenges on that route.

The Afghan spokesman said the railroad, which is to be opened in less than 10 days by the two countries’ high-ranking officials, will connect Afghanistan to Asian and European countries through Iran.

The railroad project is composed of four sections: one from Khaf to Sangan in Iran and the second one from Sangan to the Chah-Sorkh border crossing, each of which is 76 km long, according to the Afghan spokesman.

Farhad said the third part, 62 km long, extends from Chah-Sorkh to Afghanistan's Rozanak (or Rahzanak).

"These three sections have all been funded by Iran," he said.

The final part of the project, which has long been touted as the sole viable option to build Afghanistan’s economy, stretches all the way from Rozanak to Herat.

A group of people watching the arrival of the train said they were "very happy to see a train in their place of living for the first time ever."

They said they would "wholeheartedly" cooperate with Afghan security forces to ensure the security of the railroad and the export consignments, as the railroad will definitely improve the economic conditions of Afghan people.

Afghanistan has almost no functioning railways, where there is less than 25 km of track in the entire country. The Afghan section of the Khaf-Herat railway built with Iran includes 114 km of track which will open a new chapter in domestic freight and passenger transportation. It will reduce the cost of moving goods across the region to a fraction of that of highway transport.

The railway will stretch to Chabahar in southeastern Iran, boosting Afghanistan’s trade and bringing in its mining sector from the cold to exploit billions of dollars in untapped mineral reserves.

High ranking officials from Iran and Afghanistan will gather at their joint border to open the line by the end of the current Iranian month in about two weeks, Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami said last week. 

“With the opening of the railway line and the possibility of transporting goods by train between Iran and Afghanistan, easier conditions have been created for the transportation of goods, so we hope that this development will have positive effects on trade between the two countries,” head of Iran-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce Hossein Salimi said Tuesday.

According to Salimi, Iran’s exports to Afghanistan are estimated to reach $2.7 billion by the end of the current Persian year in March 2021.

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