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To the Clatter of Wheels

International Press Club has hosted a meeting on the follow up development of the country’s railway industry. Uzbekistan Railways representatives shared with the promising projects that would bring the industry to a new level.

In particular, Uzbekistan intends to partner the construction of new railways on the territory of Afghanistan, said Uzbekistan Temir Yollari Deputy Board Chairman Davron Dekhkanov.

According to him, the Uzbek railway workers know Afghanistan well. In 2010, they launched a unique 100 kilometer railroad on the Khairaton-Mazar-i-Sharif section.

“The project is highly relevant for Uzbekistan because it provides access to the sea through Afghanistan, Pakistan and to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. We have already held negotiations with the representatives of Afghanistan and reached certain agreements. Our partners are ready to embark on the construction. The sources of financing are currently under consideration. This region is familiar to us, and we are ready to continue our design, survey and construction work there. We submitted this information to the Afghan government in the written form," Dehkanov noted.

Uzbek railway builders have got hand in the construction of high-mountain railways. Today, they successfully maintain the Hayraton-Mazar-i-Sharif railway section. This section is a part of the Trans-Afghan transport corridor. About half of Afghanistan's imports are transported by this railway. In furtherance of the project, it is planned to launch the construction of the Mazar-i-Sharif-Shibergan-Maymana-Herat railway as a transport economic corridor in the north-west of this Afghanistan.

Another important project implies the construction of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway, which will become a new ever transport corridor.
“It will transport goods from China via Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to the countries of Eastern Europe through the Transcaucasian corridor, as the shortest route of cargo transportation to Europe. Therefore, the Chinese government expresses keen interest in the project. China, equally as Uzbekistan, takes great efforts to launch the construction," Dehkanov said.

The partners are currently negotiating on certain technical issues. First of all, they run into the difference in the railroad gage. In Uzbekistan, the gage is 1,520 millimeters, in China – 1,435 millimeters. How the cargo will be transshipped, at which station, and where the terminal will be located are still unaddressed issues.
Uzbekistan also intends to increase the supplies of fruit and vegetable products to the Russian market by rail. This is one of the most dynamically developing directions of cargo transportation for the Uzbek railway company, and it promises to grow in the future.

“This is currently a highly relevant issue for our shippers, so we pay primary attention to it. Today, the Uzbek railway has more than 210 refrigerated sections, which provide cargo transportation in appropriate temperature conditions, quality and, most importantly, in the optimally shortest delivery terms. We have agreements with Russia, the so-called ‘green’ corridor for Uzbek cargo to Russia. It considerably simplifies the transportation, speeding up the delivery of goods to the final customer," said Uzbekistan Temir Yollari Deputy Board Chairman.

Earlier, transportation of Uzbek fruit and vegetable products to Russia faced certain problems. In particular, the goods were transported to the border of Uzbekistan, then were transported further by road, and predominantly no longer as Uzbek products.

In 2016, the volume of Uzbek agricultural products to Russia has more than doubled. In the beginning of the year alone, supplies of fruit and vegetable products to Russia from Uzbekistan increased by 9% YOY. The two sides signed over 20 contracts for supply of fresh and processed fruit and vegetable products for a total of $612 million.
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