THE president of Kyrgyzstan, Mr Sadyr Japarov, has announced that the new 523km railway connecting China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan at an estimated cost of $US 8bn will be built by a joint venture formed by the three countries.

Speaking during a meeting with China Railway (CR) deputy general director, Mr Wang Tunjun, on March 20, Japarov said: “Kyrgyzstan is very determined and intends to build the main line in the next few years.”

He added that the joint venture is expected to deliver the project on a build-operate-transfer basis, undertaking design, construction and operation before transferring ownership to China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan at some point in the future.

Construction of the new railway is expected to start later this year. According to media reports, preparations have been completed in all three countries.

The project feasibility study is currently being updated, following the completion of field surveys by Chinese engineers in December.

The governments of China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan signed an agreement to build the new railway on September 14 2022 during a summit held in the Uzbek city of Samarkand.

The new railway will shorten the route between China and Europe by 900km and will also avoid the Trans-Siberian railway across Russia. Transit times for freight moving between China and Europe are expected to be cut by eight days.

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