Turkestan, 27 November 2023 (TDI): Alikhan Smailov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, commenced work on the 152-kilometer-long railway line Darbaza-Maktaaral in Turkestan, connecting Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
A substantial construction project is being executed on behalf of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to further expand the republic’s transport and transportation capacity. As a component of it, an additional checkpoint on the Kazakh-Uzbek state boundary will be established.
In total, 25.8 million tons of cargo have been transported between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan since the beginning of the year. The main freight flow goes via the Saryagash interstate docking station, which happens to be now full.
The erection of a new railway track will enable freight to be diverted from the existing Saryagash-Tashkent segment to the new line, unburdening the Saryagash station, and boosting export traffic to Uzbekistan in general. Furthermore, by connecting the Turkestan region to the republic’s main railway network, the project will help to develop the region.
In his remarks, the Prime Minister mentioned that another important event has been taking place in Kazakhstan today.
“Railroads are steel arteries that guarantee the development of our state’s economic and social spheres. Last year, Kazakhstan transported the most freight in its 30 years of independence, totaling more than 245 billion ton-kilometers. “High rates are expected to continue this year,” said Alikhan Smailov.
The Head of Government emphasized that the amount of cargo transit with Uzbekistan is expected to be over 31 million tons by the end of the year, which is 16% more than the previous year.
Phases of the project
There are two stages to the project. The first comprises the construction of a line Erdaut-Maktaaral-Uzbekistan state border with a connection to the Syrdarya station.
The second step entails the opening of the Zhetysai branch – Uzbekistan’s state border with a link to the same station. A combined length of 152 km of railroad line will be constructed.
It is intended to purchase 19.7 thousand tonnes of rails for the project, in addition to 280 thousand sets of concrete-reinforced sleepers and rail fastenings.
The development of a new railway route will result in the creation of 3,400 employees. The project will include 85% Kazakhstani material.
Development of Turkestan region
Kanat Almagambetov, Deputy Chairman of the Board of KTZ, emphasized that the Darbaza-Maktaaral line will connect two isolated areas of Turkestan – Maktaaral and Zhetysay – with the remainder of Kazakhstan.
“There will be nine stations built. The railway will provide direct access from Kazakhstan to these places and vice versa. Because they have been now compelled to traverse the border through Uzbekistan. This has an impact on regional growth. They will get a new serious momentum after construction,” he said.
According to him, Kazakhstan’s transportation potential will also greatly increase.
“This route will be used more frequently by cargo headed for Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan”.
He further stated that a railway from Pakistan to India is now being considered. The opening of the Darbaza-Maktaaral line will mark Kazakhstan’s major contribution to the creation of this strategic route.
Prospects for further railway infrastructure
It is noteworthy that, as part of Kazakhstan’s continued expansion of its transport and transit capabilities, the government is making methodical efforts to accelerate the buildup of railway infrastructure.
Second tracks on the Dostyk-Moyynty segment, as well as a new railway bypassing Almaty, are already being built. Operation on a new railway line Bakhty-Ayagoz that connects to the third transnational junction with China is expected to begin soon. In sum, about 1,300 km of railways are scheduled to be developed in the country during the next three years.