The U.S. military, truckin' on through Central Asia
Thus far, nearly all of the ground traffic on the Northern Distribution Network has gone by railroad. But the U.S. is trying to increase its use of trucks to ship military cargo from Europe to Afghanistan, according to a Defense Logistics Agency press release:
U.S. European Command has successfully tested a truck route from Germany to Afghanistan.
The trial run, also called a proof of principle, consists of two trucks carrying two 20-foot containers each from Germany to Bagram, Afghanistan. The first phase of the test, completed in September, used an international carrier that used drivers and equipment from several of the transited countries to move the cargo.
The release doesn't specify which route the trucks took, but says the trip took 49 days and that the DLA identified "some areas for improvement that could reduce the delivery time by another 19 days." (Let's hope that doesn't include bribery, which some western logistics companies have proposed as a timesaver on the NDN.)
The second phase of the test is planned for next month, and will "entail moving cargo from several different countries in a single convoy." Just as long as they watch out for those Uzbek smokeys.
Joshua Kucera is the Turkey/Caucasus editor at Eurasianet, and author of The Bug Pit.
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