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The Central Asia Regional Economic Co-operation programme has published its Transport Strategy 2030, building on lessons learned from the Transport & Trade Facilitation Strategy 2020. According to CAREC, 1 800 km of railway was built in the period covered by that strategy.
The 11 CAREC member countries are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The 2030 transport strategy separates trade facilitation from transport, and puts CAREC’s objectives of improving connectivity and sustainability alongside corridor construction and rehabilitation.
Railway policies in support of the connectivity objectives include:
Policies to support CAREC’s sustainability objectives include:
CAREC said the region’s railways were crucial to promoting economic diversification and sustainable development, and well-positioned to benefit from the growing demand for transcontinental freight traffic. However rail’s market share had stagnated in favour of road, and the sector needs to meet changing requirements for faster, cheaper and more user-friendly freight services including door-to-door intermodal operations.
The 2030 railway strategy prioritises projects that are economically viable, that facilitate cross border freight and encourage private-sector participation, and that emphasise environmental performance and increasing safety and security.
Although infrastructure and operations in the region had improved in the past two decades, CAREC reported that cross-border trade and transport still suffered from underfunding of infrastructure, inefficient maintenance and cumbersome cross-border procedures, all of which it hopes to address by promoting good practice.
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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