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A New Railway Project for China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan

On March 1st, Akylbek Japarov Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic, Abdulla Aripov Prime Minister of Uzbekistan and Ma Xingrui Communist Party Secretary of China’s western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, met in Kashgar (Xinjiang) to discuss the construction of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway. Japarov first praised the incentive for its potential to strengthen the development of trade and economic cooperation between the three countries and reported that a jointly funded feasibility study of the project had already been developed and approved. Uzbekistan’s Prime Minister Aripov expressed his country’s interest in developing multimodal transport routes to support the joint construction of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway. Addressing the insufficient throughput capacity of the Irkeshtam checkpoint on the Kyrgyz-Chinese border, Japarov stated, “increasing the volume of cargo throughput at the Irkeshtam checkpoint is an issue relevant to both the Kyrgyz and Chinese sides, as well as the Uzbek side. It is therefore important that all checkpoints are modernized and equipped with updated means of customs control.” He then reported that new customs inspection complexes at the Irkeshtam and Torugart checkpoints to be installed this year, will allow up to 125 vehicles per hour to cross the border, and added that the Kyrgyz side aims to increase the throughput capacity of these checkpoints to 1,000 vehicles per day. In the interest of developing trade and economic ties, the Secretary of Xinjiang’s Party Committee welcomed the Kyrgyz Prime Minister's proposals and supported his stance that Xinjiang is perceived as a gateway to China from Kyrgyzstan and in turn, several other Central Asian countries.

Iran and Afghanistan to complete railway link in March, official says

TEHRAN (TCA) — A senior Iranian official says a major railway connecting Iran and neighboring Afghanistan will be ready in March 2020 as construction of a key cross-border line is nearing completion, Iran’s PressTV news agency reported. Continue reading

New rail container service launched from China via Kazakhstan to Prague through Bosphorus

NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — A delegation of Kazakhstan’s national railways company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ), headed by the Chairman of the company’s Management Board Sauat Mynbayev, took part in the ceremony of receiving the first Xi'an-Ankara-Prague train on November 6 in Ankara (Turkey), KTZ’s press service reported. Continue reading

Record number of freight trains cross Kazakhstan-China border

NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — At the end of October, 17 trains were exchanged on average per day, which is a record in the history of the border crossing between Kazakhstan and China at Dostyk and Alashankou rail stations, said the press service of KTZ-Freight transportation JSC, a subdivision of Kazakhstan’s national railways company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ). Continue reading

Work started on construction of railway linking Afghanistan, Turkmenistan

KABUL (TCA) — The Afghan Acting Minister of Transportation, Yama Yari, on July 26 inaugurated work on the construction of Aqina-Andkhoi railway in Afghanistan’s Faryab province, Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews reported. Yari said the 30-kilometer railway will connect Aqina port with Andkhoi in Turkmenistan and that the project will cost $30 million. “Such projects will create jobs to residents of [Faryab] province,” he said. “I hope the project is completed on its time with the help of Faryab residents.” The MoU for construction of the railway was signed by Afghan and Turkmen officials in February. Construction of the railway in Afghanistan is carried out through the finance of the Turkmen side and with the use of Turkmen personnel and material resources (workers, engineers, and equipment including railway machines, cranes, and construction materials), the State News Agency of Turkmenistan reported. Turkmen specialists not only build the railroad but also develop infrastructure facilities. In the future, this railroad is planned to be extended to the border with Tajikistan with further entry to the states of the Asian Pacific region. This will give Afghanistan an opportunity to become an important link of international transport corridors running across Central Asia in the North–South and East–West directions. Today, Afghanistan seeks additional sales markets for its agricultural production, and the Aqina–Andkhoi railway line will open new opportunities for Afghan products to enter the world market.

ADB to help modernize Uzbekistan’s railway fleet

TASHKENT (TCA) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $170 million loan to help improve Uzbekistan’s railway fleet through the procurement of 24 state-of-the-art electric locomotives. The new locomotives will enhance the performance of the railway system by offering cleaner, more reliable, and efficient passenger and freight transport services, ADB’s country office in Uzbekistan said. “Transport and connectivity are crucial for the growth and development of a double landlocked country like Uzbekistan, and remains a high priority for our support to Uzbekistan,” said ADB Country Director for Uzbekistan Ms. Cindy Malvicini. Rail transport plays a significant part in Uzbekistan’s economy, particularly in moving large amount of freight in long distances as well as in moving passengers between the country’s densely populated cities. The 4,669-kilometer (km) rail network in Uzbekistan carries about 40% of total freight volume and about 4% of total passenger volume of the country’s land transport needs. In terms of electrification rate, more than 50%, or 2,350 km, of the country’s railway network is currently electrified. “Having a cleaner, more efficient, and reliable transport network, in the form of electrified railways, will help boost Uzbekistan’s growth and maximize the country’s potential as a transport hub at the heart of Central Asia,” said ADB Senior Transport Specialist for Central and West Asia Mr. Ko Sakamoto. The project will provide 24 electric locomotives, 16 of which are optimized for freight trains and 8 for passenger trains. These locomotives will help cut greenhouse gas emissions by 900,000 tons per year, while also reducing local air pollution. The locomotive depot in Tashkent, called O’zbekiston, will also be upgraded to effectively cater to service and maintenance needs of the new electric fleet. O’zbekiston Temir Yo’llari, the publicly owned railway company, will implement a long-term development strategy to equip itself for the emerging transport needs of the country. The project will help reduce travel times on Uzbekistan’s railway network, improve service quality and reliability in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) transport network, and strengthen the conditions for the private sector in the country to grow. It is also aligned with the goals under the CAREC Railway Strategy 2017–2030, which notes railways’ role as an engine for economic growth in Central Asia. Total cost of the project is $218.3 million, with the Government of Uzbekistan contributing $48.3 million. The project is expected to be completed by June 2025. ADB’s $170 million assistance directly complements other projects in Uzbekistan for the electrification of the country’s railway network, two of which are supported by ADB. In September 2011, ADB approved a $100 million loan for the electrification of 140 km of railway between Marakand and Karshi, while an $80 million loan was approved in April 2017 for the electrification of 145 km of railway linking the cities of Pap, Namangan, and Andijan in the Fergana Valley.

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