Jiangxi freight service strengthens Tashkent’s links with New Silk Road

Another piece in the New Silk Road jigsaw puzzle slotted into place last Friday when a train loaded with steel coils, garments and household goods  worth an estimated US$1.8m  pulled out of Ganzhou in China’s south eastern Jiangxi province. The train is expected to arrive in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent next Wednesday after a 12-day journey.
More than 4,000 freight train journeys have been made between Chinese and European  cities via Central Asia  since the Chongqing-Duisburg Line first began operating six years ago, primarily to facilitate the export of Chinese goods to Europe; but for countries like Uzbekistan, the so-called Belt and Road initiative has also brought about the  development of  alternative regional transportation and communication arteries, opened up transportation corridors to seaports and international markets and led to the construction of oil and gas pipelines.
These are expected to give a considerable boost to the economies of the Ferghana Valley, Central Asia’s most densely populated area that
is administratively divided between Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Last year, China’s President Xi Jinping joined his Uzbek counterpart,  the late  Islam Karimov, at a ceremony to mark completion of the  $1.6bn 123-km Angren-Pap electric rail line that opened up  a direct route across the Qurama mountains between Tashkent and Namangan in the valley.
The project included construction of a 19.1km tunnel under the Kamchik Pass that was built by the China Railway Tunnel Group and  which has finally enabled  Uzbekistan to abandon the Soviet-era line that cuts through Tajikistan, in the process saving it a reported $25m in transit fees.
Uzbekistan is also looking at the possibility of developing transport links with Iran (via Afghanistan) and Qatar (via Turkmenistan, Iran, and Oman).

Source: ut