Crossing three countries with a total length of over 950 km, the newly established Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan-China transport corridor is functioning efficiently as one of the most important road transportation channels between China and Central Asia.

Since its official launch in February 2018, the new route through northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has substantially facilitated exchanges of goods by reducing time and costs of cargo deliveries.

The transport corridor is the shortest way connecting land communications of Uzbekistan and China, said Rustam Azimboev, Deputy General Director of the Uzbek-Chinese joint venture (JV) Silk Road International.

“It used to take eight to 10 days to transfer goods between China and Uzbekistan through Kyrgyzstan, but now the new transportation route only takes two days,” Azimboev said.

Along the new corridor, Uzbek goods such as cotton yarn, agricultural products and fruit juices are transported to China, while production and processing equipment, components and home appliances are transported in the opposite direction, according to Azimboyev.

Bilateral trade between China and Uzbekistan has grown rapidly in recent years thanks to the improvement of transportation infrastructure. In 2018, two-way trade increased by 48.4 percent year-on-year to 6.26 billion U.S. dollars. Now China is Uzbekistan’s largest trading partner, largest export destination and largest source of imports.

Moreover, with the Uzbek government prioritising exports in its external economic policy, more and more Uzbek companies are seeking a share in China’s huge consumer market.

“International multimodal transport in countries along the route will make inter-regional transport corridors more efficient, allowing for faster entrance of Uzbek goods into the international market,” said Rakhmatulla Nazarov, head of the Public Diplomacy Center of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Uzbekistan.

While providing a good opportunity for the economic development of Uzbekistan, the transport corridor is also attracting other countries to use it for deliveries of their goods.

As an epitome of the implementation of the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) in Central Asia, the corridor plays a leading role in transport facilitation and the creation of the new Asian-European continental bridge, experts say.

“The transport corridor has greatly promoted the transportation among the three countries and created favourable conditions for regional cooperation between Central Asia and China,” Azimboyev said.

In June, China customs authorities announced full implementation of the international customs transit system under the convention on Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR), or International Road Transport, at all its checkpoints at border and inland customs offices, which is expected to further promote regional connectivity and enhance the economic and trade exchanges between China and countries along the BRI routes.

Zhou Yan, chief representative of East and Southeast Asia office of the International Road Transport Union, stressed that the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan-China transport corridor will not only promote the three countries’ economic development, but also boost trade between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

“The route will further facilitation of the China-Central Asia-West Asia international transport corridor and promote economic and trade exchanges between the countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt,” Zhou said.