A report published by Rossiyskaya Gazeta cites a Russian deputy prime minister, Marat Khusnullin, as saying Moscow wants to extend the M-12 highway to China via Mongolia. Currently, the M-12 connects Russia to Kazakhstan. Expansion would facilitate growth in tourism and ground transport, Khusnullin said. Meanwhile, Uzbekistan and Mongolia are in the process of updating an agreement on road and air transport, striving to simplify transit from/to China, the Mongolian National News Agency reports. Uzbek and Mongolian officials agreed in a memorandum of understanding to facilitate the transit of goods not only between China and Europe, but also to Iran, Pakistan and India.
The Kazakh government has launched construction of a rail bypass around the country’s commercial hub, Almaty. At present, the Almaty bottleneck slows down freight transit times by up two days. Rail transportation volume between China and Kazakhstan in 2022 amounted to 23 million tons; and volume has grown by 20 percent so far this year.
The Press Service of Uzbekistan’s Transport Ministry reports that Deputy Minister Mamanbiy Omarov has signed an agreement with representatives of the Chinese firm Hichain Logistics Co to build transport hubs in a variety of locations across the Central Asian nation, including Andijan, Navoi and Karakalpakstan.
Kyrgyz officials continue to struggle in their efforts to secure financial backing for the Kyrgyz portion of China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway route. Deputy Kyrgyz Transport Minister Yrysbek Bariev, speaking at a trade event in Azerbaijan, sought to drum up interest in the project, saying it will “strengthen interregional ties” and increase “the competitiveness of the regions.” Bariev’s speech, however, did not move the needle on investor interest.
Deputy Trade Minister Farhod Vosidiyon, while attending a trade event in the Chinese Xi’an, revealed that Chinese-Tajik trade increased by 10 percent during the January-September period of 2023, compared to the same timeframe the previous year. Over the past five years, bilateral trade has almost doubled, according to Trade Ministry’s press service. The ministry did not provide information on the volume of trade, an indicator that commerce between the two states is modest.
Turkmen officials, participating in the 17th meeting of the Intergovernmental Turkmen-Iranian Commission on Economic Cooperation, voiced a desire to intensify the development of transit routes connecting Iran and China via Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Expansion of Turkmen transit infrastructure could save as much as two weeks in transit times for goods between China and Iran, according to unnamed experts cited by the Kazakh newspaper Ak Zhaiyk.