In 2023, work on the construction of a new railway branch connecting China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan should begin. The project has been discussed for many years, but the war in Ukraine and problems with transit through Russia prompted China to take more decisive action.
This is written by the Polish publication Rynek Kolejowy, Rail.insider reports .
The idea of building a new connection is not new – the first time negotiations took place two decades ago. However, recently it has gained more and more importance.
As noted, Russian aggression against Ukraine has made it difficult to use the Trans-Siberian Railway for the transportation of goods between Asia and Europe – although the transit is not subject to sanctions, the transportation time or costs related, in particular, to cargo insurance have increased.
According to the publication, the President of Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Zhaparov, announced a few weeks ago that a preliminary agreement had been reached regarding the construction. The final agreement can be signed in September this year.
“The construction of a railway line bypassing Russia gives China a chance to launch an alternative transport route between the Greater China and the European Union. From Beijing’s point of view, it may also be important to bypass Kazakhstan, which after the recent protests is not perceived as a very stable partner. Experts also note that a more active participation of China in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan will strengthen the country’s position in the region,” the publication says.
The new railway line should provide the shortest connection between China and Europe, which will reduce the transportation time by about a week. Preparatory works will continue until the end of this year, and they should begin already in 2023. The exact route is still being discussed, but according to preliminary assumptions, the total length of the new line will be 523 km, of which 213 km will be built in China, 260 km in Kyrgyzstan and the last 50 km in Uzbekistan. A significant part will have to be built in unfavorable, mountainous terrain.
It is interesting that the standard of construction of the new line is controversial. China advocates a gauge of 1435 mm, and Kyrgyzstan prefers to stay on the infrastructure of broad gauge, which was left to the country after the collapse of the USSR.
The question of financing new infrastructure is also open. China, to whom the project is most important, is not ready to take on all the costs estimated at $4.5 billion. Джерело: https://biz.censor.net/n3362889