Russia And Uzbekistan Plan Agricultural Rail Freight Corridors

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Russia and Uzbekistan have green-lighted the blueprints for logistical corridors between the two countries following Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk’s meeting with his Uzbek counterpart Sardor Umurzakov in Tashkent.

The plans outline bilateral efforts to improve customs, sanitary, and phytosanitary procedures to ensure the safe passage of goods between the two countries, while they will also develop cooperation in digitisation and work closely to establish agro-logistics and distribution centres.

These efforts include establishing regular “Agro Express” cargo trains to operate along the so-called “green corridor” between Russian and Uzbekistan. The trains will speed up the export/import of agricultural products.

There are two available routes, the overland Trans-Aral Railway, which extends from Moscow, crosses the Russan-Kazakh border and then the Kazakh-Uzbek border to Samarkand.

An alternative route is via the Trans-Caspian Railway, which requires multi-modal shipping via the Caspian Sea to Turkmenbashi, intersects with the INSTC then across to Turkmenistan’s border with Uzbekistan at Farab.

“The first ‘Agro Express’ train with Russian food products will depart to Uzbekistan this autumn, with delivery not exceeding seven days. Russian exporters will get a seamless supply channel and accelerated cross-border movement of goods thanks to the coordinated actions of the control authorities of the two countries,” REC Chief Executive Veronika Nikishina said.

The Agro Express project kicked off in June 2021 when Russia’s PM Mikhail Mishustin and Uzbek PM Abdulla Oripov officially agreed to boost cooperation. REC Chief Executive Veronika Nikishina, RZD Logistika Chief Executive Dmitry Murev, and Uzagrologistics Centres Chief Executive Noufalbek Sabirov were also present at the ceremony.

Russia is keen to have Uzbekistan join the Eurasian Economic Union, which this corridor would highlight the benefits of doing so. China is also planning rail links from its Western Xinjiang Province via Kyrgyzstan to the Ferghana region which could later link up to the Russian rail corridor.

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