A seminar titled “Infrastructure along the New Silk Road: Opportunities and Challenges” was held on 25 June 2013 in the City of London. It was organized by the New Silk Road Forum (NSRF, www.nsrforum.com) jointly with the International Association of Project Finance (IPFA).
The event was attended by over 110 representatives from political, expert and analytical, academic and business circles of the UK. The key speakers were HE Mr Otabek Akbarov, Ambassador of Uzbekistan, and Viscount Waverley, Chairman of the Britain-Uzbekistan All-Party Parliamentary Group.
In his speech, the Ambassador of Uzbekistan noted that since the early years of the independence the country has been able to implement a complex set of measures to ensure a consistent basis for its sustainability of economic growth. This has contributed to the formation of Uzbekistan into a leading industrial centre in the Central Asia.
He stressed that an active investment policy of Uzbekistan, technical modernization of industries and infrastructure helped to create and develop new high-tech productions. At the same time, such a dynamic economic development requires advanced development of transport and communication complex, as well as diversification of international transport corridors to ensure optimal and reliable delivery of goods to foreign markets.
In this context, Ambassador highlighted specific examples of development and increase of the transit potential of Uzbekistan, six major international land transport routes and air transport, as well as activities of the Navoi Free Economic Zone as well as Angren and Jizzak Special Economic Zones.
Dear Participants of the Workshop!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Let me introduce you to a presentation on the current state and prospects of the development of the transport and communication potential of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Uzbekistan from the first years of its independence has been able to realize a package of very difficult measures that ensure a sustainable basis of the consistent economic growth and becoming today’s leading industrial centre in the Central Asian Region.
An active investment policy of Uzbekistan, technical modernization of branches of industry and manufacturing infrastructure has contributed to creating and developing new high-tech industries - automobile industry, gas chemistry, electrical engineering, oil and gas and rail engineering, pharmaceuticals, textiles and furniture industry, building materials and many others.
In this context, as a result of the successful implementation of the Anti-crisis Program, despite a negative impact of the global financial and economic crisis, in Uzbekistan the growth in some industries has maintained and even increased. For the last 5 years, GDP growth was above 8%. This dynamic development of the economy requires advanced development of transport and communications, and diversification of international transport corridors to ensure optimal and reliable delivery of goods to foreign markets.
In this context, the main directions of the Uzbekistan’s transport policy are integration into international transport communications, development of effective international foreign trade and transit goods transportation routes, modernization of the transport sector and transit capacity increase.
Our major international transport corridors are directions to:
-Ports of the Baltic States;
-Ukrainian ports with access to the Black Sea;
-Georgian ports along the TRACECA Corridor;
-Russian Far Eastern ports;
-Iranian ports with access to the Persian Gulf;
-Belarus and Ukraine towards European countries;
In recent years projects have been gradually implemented in construction of new railways with length of almost 350 miles (Navoi-Uchkuduk-Sultanuizdag-Nukus (212 miles) and Toshguzar-Baysun-Kumkurgan (137 miles), reconstructed more than 373 miles of railway lines, purchased 12 freight locomotives and 15 passenger locomotives (2010-2011), electrified railway lines (Tukimachi-Angren, 89 miles).
In 2012, 150 miles of railways were rehabilitated, over 44 miles of train traffic lines were opened. According to the Uzbekistan Railways. In 2013, 594.7 billion soums (US$288.1m) will be invested to development and modernization of the railways (growth in 48.7%). Five projects come on line, implemented along with programs of long-term development of economic branches and territories. Among the most important projects - construction of 116-mile double-track electrified railway line Jizzak-Yangiyer (Phase 1).
Furthermore, under a 2012 Agreement, the Government of Japan will provide us a US$221m loan under the Official Development Assistance to implement the Project "Electrification of the railway section at Karshi-Termez" with planned electrification of over 200 miles railways. According to an agreement between the Government of Uzbekistan and the ADB, the Bank has provided a US$100m loan f the electrification of the 88-mile railway Marokand-Karshi. The simultaneous implementation of these two projects will create an opportunity for the full electrification of the almost 517-mile railway Tashkent-Termez towards Afghanistan.
These projects will increase passenger and cargo traffic in the direction of the country’s northern and southern regions, strengthen the development of the available natural resources and create conditions for the further growth of the economic potential of these regions.
In addition, in 2011, Spanish high-speed passenger trains Talgo-250 were commissioned between the major cities of Uzbekistan, with speed in some areas up to 155 m/h.
In addition, Uzbekistan plans to build by 2016 a new electrified railway line Angren-Pap. Uzbekistan Railways estimates the cost of the construction, which will connect the Ferghana Valley with the rest of Uzbekistan through Kamchik pass (height is over 2.2 thousand meters above sea level), a US$1.9b. The development of the final version of a feasibility study of the project to be completed by the end of 2013, and in early 2014 immediate construction work will begin. The project involves a construction of two tunnels.
A particular attention is paid to the development of cross-border railway infrastructures. The launching of a new railway line Tashguzar-Baysun-Kumkurgan has provided a direct rail link with access to Afghanistan. The first railway in Afghanistan Hayraton-Mazar-i-Sharif, the length of which is 46.6 miles, built and put into operation in November 2010, has become of key importance for the whole region. This project was implemented by the Uzbekistan Railways under a financial support from the Asian Development Bank.
A considerable attention is paid to renewal of air fleet. In particular, by 2015 the acquisition of 16 new medium- and long-haul passenger aircrafts of Boeing (6 pcs.) and Airbus (10 pcs.) is planned, of which 10 Airbus aircrafts and 2 Boeing were already delivered.
To date, the total length of roads in Uzbekistan is approximately 113.7 thousand miles (of which 26.4 thousand miles - main public roads, including almost 2 thousand miles - highways of international importance).
Uzbekistan annually paving and reconstructing an average of 140-170 miles of road. An agreement was signed with the ADB on raising credit facilities in the amount of US$600m.
At the same time, in 2012, the construction of more than 311 miles of modern four-lane highways were completed.
According to the UZAVTOYUL State Joint-Stock Company, until 2015, 1.487 km of roads, part of the Uzbek National Highway to be built and transferred to four-lane highways in Uzbekistan. For these purposes, only for this year US$127m is allocated.
Besides, there is intention to construct and reconstruct road infrastructure and services along the national highway and rail routes, creation conditions that would meet international standards for motor road and rail route users. On this basis, creation of new jobs and employment increase.
The share of motor road transport in transportation of goods within the Republic of Uzbekistan's foreign trade is about 10%, and in the intra-passenger and freight traffic - 88%. The pace of growth of services, provided by motor road transport, increases annually by 20%.
In accordance with a development program, motor vehicle fleet to be renovated through the co-production in the Republic of Uzbekistan of MAN heavy vehicles.
A project to create at the Navoi Airport a large hub with an international intermodal logistics centre (IILC) has paid off. More than 50 thousand tons of cargo were handled and transported as well as regular flights to 20 destinations (including Bangkok, Bombay, Brussels, Dhaka, Delhi, Dubai, Seoul, Istanbul, Milan, Frankfurt, Shanghai) were carried out in 2011 at the Navoi Centre.
Also, one of the most privileged factors of the IILC location at the international airport of Navoi is that it close to the Navoi Free Industrial and Economic Zone (FIEZ), where today there is production of goods of high technology, electronics, pharmaceuticals and etc. with high added value, a significant amount of which is re-allocated to the respective modes of transportation, including through the Navoi International Intermodal Logistics Centre.
In Angren, an international logistics centre was established and put into operation. It will provide a guaranteed year-round transportation link between regions of the country and the regions of the Ferghana Valley. At the end of 2011, more than 4 million tons of cargo was processed (GM Uzbekistan cars, automobile components, Fergana Oil Refinery’s production, chemical products, etc.).
Since 2013, there has been a process of establishing of a free economic zone in Angren.
In order to promote international trade, large-scale cooperation between the regions, on the initiative of Uzbekistan, an intergovernmental agreement on establishment of a new transport corridor "Uzbekistan - Countries of the Persian Gulf" was signed in April 2011 in Ashgabat. It will create a reliable communication for passengers and goods transportation between the Countries of Central Asia and the Persian Gulf ports.
The successful implementation of this project will strengthen and expand mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation between the participating countries, to increase transit traffic, to provide them with new communication access to world markets.
Today, Uzbekistan implemented a number of projects aimed at further development of transport and communication infrastructure and increase of its transit capacity.
Till 2015, the country will implement US$8.5b worth projects, both through foreign investments and own expense, including in the road transport system – US$3.54b, in the rail system – US$2.146b, in the air transport - about US$1b and in telecommunications and engineering- communication structure – US$1,795b.
For further development of railways until 2015, the country schedules to implement in phases the construction of new railway stations (93 miles), modernization and rehabilitation of existing roads (640 miles), electrification of railway lines (444 miles), renewal of rolling stock fleet, including purchase of locomotives (28 pcs.) and construction of passenger cars (115 pcs.).