China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan Corridor Proposed
Would link Afghanistan to South Asia and the INSTC
Uzbekistan has proposed the launch of a new Central Asian “China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan” transport corridor, according to Uzbekistan’s national railway company Temir Yullari.
This initiative was discussed during a meeting between the acting chairman of the board of Uzbekistan Temir Yullari, Khusnutdin Khasilov, and the heads of the railways of Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.
The meeting was attended by the Director General of Kyrgyz railway company (Kyrgyz Temir Zholu), the Director General of the Afghan Railways, as well as representatives of the Chinese Wakhan Corridor logistics company. The Wakhan Corridor is a narrow strip of territory in Afghanistan, extending to the border with China and separating the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan from the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
According to the Uzbek side, the key point in organizing a new corridor is to create mutually beneficial conditions for cargo transportation, and most importantly, to introduce competitive tariffs.
It is planned to transport goods along this corridor from the Kashgar railway station in China to the Osh railway station in Kyrgyzstan by road, and from the Osh station to the Hairatan station in Afghanistan by rail.
To date, the annual volume of cargo transportation is 3,500 containers, with plans to increase this to 60,000 containers per year. The parties agreed to discuss the issue of tariff discounts and to present an updated tariff rate at their next meeting.
The development of such a corridor would help with the reconstruction of Afghanistan and assist with the transformation from a nation at perpetual war to production and peace. Afghanistan is a key part of Central Asia,
bordered by Pakistan to the east and south, Iran to the west, Turkmenistan to the northwest, Uzbekistan to the north, Tajikistan to the northeast, and China to the northeast and east. This position marks it out as a Central Asian hub, which could connect with ocean ports via Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran, which would also assist landlocked Uzbekistan reach markets in South Asia and to Europe. Iran has recently announced it intends building rail connections through to Herat, which would provide access to the INSTC.
Beijing has previously announced it is prepared to support the development of trans-Afghan railways.
Chris Devonshire-Ellis is the Chairman of Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists British and Foreign Investment into Asia and has 28 offices throughout China, India, the ASEAN nations and Russia. For strategic and business intelligence concerning China’s Belt & Road Initiative please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.dezshira.com