Kazakhstan overtakes Russia in volumes of freight, passenger transportation, Uzbekistan ranks 3rd
In the first five months of the current year, Kazakhstan transported more cargo and passengers than the Russian Federation in gross weight and numbers of persons, according to recent figures from the Interstate Statistics Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States which unites all former Soviet republics except Georgia and the three Baltic states. Third on the list appears Uzbekistan, but with a large margin compared to the former two, with Kyrgyzstan appearing on the lower end of the list.
Figures strongly suggest that transit between the Far East and Europe plays a determining role in developing the former USSR’s transport business, and wherever dead end roads appear along the New Silk Route for whatever reason, stagnation sets in.
Through the mentioned period, freight transportation in Kazakhstan amounted to 1.3554 billion tonne, an on-year increase of 4.3 per cent. Cargo turnover came to 174.3 billion tonne/kilometre.
The absolute number of tonnes in Kazakhstan exceeds that of Russia which recorded 1.1932 billion tonnes in overall weight for January-May 2018, an on-year increase of 2.5 per cent. Since the distances in Russia are many times longer than those in Kazakhstan, the former’s tonne/kilometre balance made up 1.1574 trillion.
Third in the ranks stands Uzbekistan with 225 milllion tonne and 8.2 billion tonne/kilometre over the said period, posting 4.5 and 0.9 growth on-year respectively. Kyrgyzstan, which like Ubekistan suffers from a lack of cross-country rail links, ranks low with 11.7 million tonne (+3.3% on-year) and 800 million tonne/kilometre. Further to the west, Belarus looks like a winner with close to 10 per cent increase in cargo transportation through the period, against a continuing net loss suffered by belligerent Ukraine.
A similar picture is offered regarding passenger transportation. Still according to the CISISC, in the first five months of 2018 Kazakhstan posted just over 7.3 billion passenger trips, against only 4.8829 billion in the Russian Federation, followed by Uzbekistan with 1.282 billion travels, accounting for about half, one-third and 8 per cent of the overall CIS figure (including Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) of 14.831 billion. In passenger/kilometre terms, Kazakhstan’s figure stood at 85.7 billion, against 189 billion for Russia, 29.6 billion for Uzbekistan and 337.6 billion for the CIS.
Both in passenger and in freight transportation, Kazakhstan accounts for almost half of the CIS’s cargo transport volume, estimated by the CISISC at close to 3 billion tonne (1.5 trillion tonne/kilometre) without counting Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan which so far fail to report comprehensively, while Russia makes up for just over one-third. In all, figures may not represent watertight proof that the Russo-Kazakh terrestrial east-west link remains the most effective along the regenerated ancient Silk Route, but it does give a strong indication in that direction.
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