MAZAR-I-SHARIF: Traders in northern Balkh province commend facilities at the Hairatan port but complain about high fare of the rail service with Uzbekistan against imports and exports.
Haji Khairuddin Mayal, an Afghan businessman, said trade relations between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan improved in recent months.
He said they faced no problem importing their goods via the railway link but still some small problems remained.
“Without any issue, goods are imported on a daily basis and exports also take to European counties through Central Asia,” Mayal said.
According to him, there is no major problem in trade with Uzbekistan through the railway line and facilities for the private sector had been increased.
He called the train fare for imports and exports as appropriate and low compared to cars and containers.
He also said the Hairatan port played an important and vital role in bolstering Afghanistan’s trade sector and all businesspeople of the country were optimistic about their commercial transactions.
But some traders are complaining about the high export fares through the railway line.
Syed Abdul Jabar Agha, a businessman, told Pajhwok that exports via the railway line from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan was too costly for Afghan traders.
However, he thanked the Afghan government for opening the trade route with Uzbekistan and acknowledged there was no big issue except the high train fare.
“A wagon from Aqina to Turkmenistan on the railway track, which is 1,400km long, costs $22 but the same distance between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan costs $52,” he explained. He urged the government to solve the issue of high fare for exports.
Meanwhile, Eng. Mohammad Hssan Ansari, provincial chamber of commerce and industry president, said trade relations between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan had recently expanded.
He explained imports and exports through Hairatan port continued normally and there was no serious problem that could harm the interest of businessmen.
Dozens of wagons carrying commercial goods were imported to Afghanistan from Uzbekistan through the railway link on a daily basis, he said.
He added previously there had been some issues in export area but after continued efforts by the government, the problems were resolved.
According to Ansari, the Balkh chamber of commerce has proposed to some firms to export their goods through the rail road.
Regarding high fare for exports via the railway, he said the issue was as much serious because the fare was lower than charged by cars and containers.
Two years ago, the Afghan government signed about 20 trade agreements with Uzbekistan and now bilateral trade between the two countries has reached a high level.