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Eurasianet is an independent news organization that covers news from and about the South Caucasus and Central Asia, providing on-the-ground reporting and critical perspectives on…

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China Explores Major Infrastructure Projects in Caspian Ports

  • Chinese companies are interested in building container facilities at Kazakhstan's Caspian port cities and modernizing railway lines.
  • Kyrgyzstan reports a 15% increase in freight rail traffic, attributing it to multimodal corridors and plans for a new China-Uzbek-Kyrgyz railway.
  • New air routes are being established between China and Kyrgyzstan, with further discussions for connections with Tajikistan.

A Chinese company, Shipbuilding Industry Corp., is exploring the possibility of building container facilities at the Kazakh port cities of Aktau and Kuryk, according to Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Transport. A ministry statement added that China Railways Group Ltd. has “expressed interest in projects to modernize existing [routes] and build new railway lines.” Discussions have so far yielded no specific deals. 

In neighboring Kyrgyzstan, representatives of Kyrgyz Railways (KTZ) say freight rail traffic in the country experienced a 15 percent increase during the first 10 months of 2023, compared with the same period the previous year. Cargo traversing Kyrgyz rails during the January-October period amounted to 7.45 million tons, according to KTZ.  The “implementation of multimodal corridors,” including plans to develop a new China-Uzbek-Kyrgyz line, helped boost cargo traffic, KTZ added. The new project has had trouble attracting investors. At a recent press conference, KTZ Deputy Director Dastan Usubakunov put the price tag of the China-Uzbek-Kyrgyz railway at $4 billion.

In aviation developments, Kyrgyzstan’s Foreign Ministry announced that a Chinese carrier, Loong Air, was set to operate a new route between Bishkek and Chengdu starting December 12. Initial plans call for two flights per week between the two cities. 

Elsewhere, Chinese and Tajik officials held talks on opening a new air connection between the two states.

By Eurasianet.org

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