Kazakhstan Launches Construction of New Darbaza–Maktaaral Railway Line to Boost Trade and Transit Potential

The construction of a railway project, the Darbaza–Maktaaral line, has commenced in the Turkestan region, marking a significant step toward enhancing Kazakhstan’s trade and transit capabilities. The official launch, conducted via teleconference by Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov, is part of a major infrastructure initiative initiated by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, reports.

The 152 km-long railway project is expected to play a pivotal role in the development of the transport sector, particularly by establishing a new checkpoint along the Kazakh-Uzbek state border. In the broader context, this initiative aims to redirect cargo from the existing Saryagash–Tashkent section to alleviate congestion at the Saryagash station and facilitate increased export traffic to Uzbekistan. Additionally, the project is set to connect the Turkestan region to the primary railway network of the republic.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Smailov underscored the importance of railways as vital arteries driving economic and social development. Highlighting the success of the previous year, with over 245 billion ton-kilometers of cargo transported—the highest in 30 years of Kazakhstan’s independence—Smailov acknowledged the sustained high rates continuing into the current year.

As the volume of cargo transportation with Uzbekistan is projected to reach approximately 31 million tons by the year-end, reflecting a 16% increase from the previous year, the construction of the Darbaza–Maktaaral line is seen as a strategic move to expand capacity and boost the export and transit potential of the country.

The project, divided into two stages, encompasses the construction of the Erdaut–Maktaaral–Uzbekistan state border line in the first stage and the commissioning of the Zhetysai branch–Uzbekistan state border line in the second stage. Key materials for the project include 19.7 thousand tons of rails, along with 280 thousand sets of reinforced concrete sleepers and rail fastenings.

Anticipated to generate 3,400 jobs, the Darbaza–Maktaaral railway project boasts an 85% share of Kazakhstani content. The Deputy Chairman of the Board of NC KTZ JSC, Kanat Almagambetov, highlighted that the railway would connect remote districts, fostering development, and significantly contribute to the country’s transit potential.

Almagambetov noted the positive impacts on transit, suggesting that cargo heading to Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan would experience faster transit through this new line, thereby reducing congestion on the Saryagash–Tashkent section. Additionally, discussions about a railway through Pakistan to India are ongoing, with the Darbaza–Maktaaral line expected to play a crucial role in this strategic route’s development.

Furthermore, as part of Kazakhstan’s broader efforts to expand transport and transit capabilities, the government is actively developing railway infrastructure, including the construction of second tracks on the Dostyk–Moyynty section and a new railway bypassing Almaty. Future plans include initiating a new railway line, Bakhty–Ayagoz, connecting to the third international junction with China, totaling over 1,300 km of railways within the next three years.


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