Prospects of forming the China - Kyrgyzstan - Uzbekistan railway corridor

By Damir Nazarov


  1. Ibragimov, Sc.D., Director of the “Research Information Centre”, a non-governmental and non-profit organization

The construction of a railway through Kyrgyzstan has been considered for a long time - more than two decades. During this time, the PRC railway ministries have repeatedly stated about their great interest in the project. “From the perspective of the PRC railway ministries, this project is important because of three aspects. It certainly plays a significant role in developing the economy of China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, which will promote the integration of these countries’ infrastructure into the European system and create transport corridor from PRC to Europe”. An active preparation on implementation of the project involving a number of Chinese government departments is still going on.

China          allocated            funds            for             working            out

of preliminary technical economical assessment (PTEA) of the trunk line. The experts who worked on the PTEA noted that the new railway will have a number of advantages compared to the existing transport corridors:

the new trunk line is 900km shorter than the existing transport corridor;

construction of the railway will improve the transport link conditions between the Central Asian countries and provide them with a favorable outlet to the sea.

According to preliminary calculations, annually, Kyrgyzstan will generate annual revenue of about $30 million to $400 million from transit of goods through its territory. Kyrgyzstan’s internal transportation volume in its territory does not exceed 5% by the most accurate estimate.

Iran has also expressed an interest in construction of the railway and declared its readiness to allocate funds for the construction of the trunk line China - Kyrgyzstan - Uzbekistan. Considering all regional trunk line projects from the economic and logical perspective, it must be admitted that the shortest way to the World Ocean lies through the territory of Iran.

The trunk line is profitable not only due to the fact that it connects China and European Union through the territory of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan on route:

China - Kyrgyzstan - Uzbekistan - Turkmenistan (the Port of Turkmenbashi)

  • Azerbaijan (the Port of Baku) - Georgia (the Ports of Poti, Batumi) - European Union;

China - Kyrgyzstan - Uzbekistan - Turkmenistan (the Port of Turkmenbashi)

  • Azerbaijan (the Port of Baku) - Georgia - Turkey (the Ports of Mersin, Istanbul) - European Union;
  • China - Kyrgyzstan - Uzbekistan - Turkmenistan (the Port of Turkmenbashi)
  • Azerbaijan (the Port of Baku) - Georgia - Turkey (Marmaray railway tunnel under the Bosporus) - European Union, but also it creates a unique opportunity to connect the “billionth” countries like China and India on route China - Kyrgyzstan
  • Uzbekistan - Afghanistan - Pakistan - India.
  • From 2017 to 2035, the expected volume of railway transportations through the junctions of Dostyk-Alashankou and Altynkol-Khorgos in Kazakhstan is estimated as 23.3%, according to their specific share in the total amount of transportations.
  • An annual increase of freight flow in through transportations is being observed - 1,4 times increase is expected in 2020 compared to 2017, and 5-6 times by 2035.
  • As a result, the capacity of railway junctions of China and Kazakhstan (the only Trans-Asian corridor of Central Asia at present time), will not cope with such a volume.
  • Therefore, supposing that 30% of freights could be reoriented on the corridor China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Turkey-Bulgaria (EU) at the expense of smaller costs of transportation and reduction of delivery period, then the expected stream of transit freights will make about 3 million tons. And an annual gain will be up to 1 million tons.
  • The expected volume of transit freights on implementation of the project - construction of the railway corridor of "China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan" with 10%, 20% and 30% reorientation through the territory of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan is provided below (look at the table No.l).
  • A forecast of Kyrgyzstan’s income from transit transportations through its territory has been carried out using the calculations provided in the annex to the Contract on the International railway transit tariff (as amended), based on the direction distance. Look at the table No.2.













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