As part of the round table “Logistics in the South under sanctions and restrictions”, Consul General of Uzbekistan in Rostov-on-Don Rustam Kurganbaev highlighted issues of foreign trade, including with the countries of Central Asia.
In particular, the consul answered a question from Kommersant-South regarding the transit of goods from the south of Russia to China, bypassing Kazakhstan.
The speaker said that in order to bypass the Republic of Kazakhstan, it is proposed to revive the route connecting the south of the Russian Federation with China, as “during the Great Silk Road”, which is being implemented within the framework of the SCO by the One Belt - One Road program.
Within the framework of this project, full-fledged automobile and railway routes are being built between Uzbekistan and China through Kyrgyzstan, bypassing Kazakhstan.
Including, as an interim project, in the summer of 2021, a new transport corridor from China to Uzbekistan through Kyrgyzstan was opened, which is partly by road and partly by rail.
Uzbekistan could play an important transit role for the south of Russia and the Caucasus if a new project of the Trans-Caspian Sea Route is implemented, which involves the construction of a seaport at the level of the Rostov region, for example, in Kalmykia.
Currently, trade between the south of the Russian Federation and Central Asia is carried out by road and rail, skirting the Caspian Sea from the north, which significantly increases the cost of products and takes time.
The speaker noted that this could have been avoided by building one commercial port on the Russian coast in the middle of the western coast of the Caspian Sea, or by expanding the capabilities of the port of Makhachkala (designed for oil transit).
In turn, modern ports in Turkenbashi and Aktau are already operating on the eastern side, actively interacting with the ports of Iran and Azerbaijan, transporting goods from Central Asia and China.
The Consul emphasized that an attractive continuation of this project could be the project currently being actively promoted with the participation of Russian Railways to build a railway from Uzbekistan to the Persian Gulf through Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the future, this will allow Russian cargo to freely reach the markets of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The speaker also said that Uzbekistan is completing the coordination of a roadmap for interaction with the Eurasian Economic Commission and procedures for joining the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB). At the same time, trade with the EAEU countries in 2021 increased by 30% and amounted to about $13 billion.