REVIEW OF TRANSPORTATION  MARKET  IN  KYRGYZSTAN   UN Map

Transport & Logistics:        ►  FACTS  AND MAIN CONDITIONS

* Warehousing & Storage Systems & Distributions

* Trucks, vans trailers, sami-trailers, forklift trucks manufacturers & dealers

* Rolling stocks, locomotives, wagons and carriage manufacturers/dealers

* Transport systems planners/engineers

* All kinds of tyre manufacturers & dealers

* Cargo transportation, freight forwarding and Courier services

Background

Transportation has been a key industry in Central Asia since antiquity. The major transport roads in the Kyrgyz Republic have their roots in the ancient Great Silk Road. This caravan route was the main transportation and communication link between China and Europe. Historically, major cities and towns were established along these key transport routes within the Kyrgyz Republic.

During the Soviet era, transport infrastructure in the Kyrgyz Republic saw major improvements and developments. New paved highways and roads were constructed as vehicular transportation was introduced for both people and goods. Later, rail transport was developed. A large volume of cargo and passengers has traditionally been carried by rail in the Kyrgyz Republic. In addition, air transport and infrastructure were extensively developed with airports being built in all major cities. The transport infrastructure was necessary for economic development of the country since it was closely integrated with the other republics of the former Soviet Union.

Nevertheless, the orientation of the Kyrgyz transport system during Soviet times led to certain weaknesses after independence. The transport infrastructure was designed to facilitate trade with only the northern and European part of the Soviet Union (Russia). Other trade routes were underdeveloped. East-West trade across the continent transited through Russia, bypassing other Central Asian countries.

Currently, the transport sector has the following structure:

  • State-owned roads and highways used by state-owned, public, and private vehicles transporting passengers and cargo.
  • State-owned railway, used solely by a state-owned rail company transporting passengers and cargo.
  • Airports served by both state-owned and private air transport companies transporting passengers and cargo.

There are no private roads in the Kyrgyz Republic. The Kyrgyz national, regional or municipal governments own and maintain all roads. Construction and maintenance of these roads is financed from the corresponding budgets. The total length of roads is 34,000 kms, according to the Kyrgyz Ministry of Transport and Communications. According to the World Bank, 91% of roads in the country are paved.

Transport contributes approximately 2-3% to Kyrgyz GDP.

The Kyrgyz Republic has joined seven major Conventions regulating international automotive traffic operations. In addition, 16 bilateral agreements have been signed, 11 of them with CIS countries.

The Kyrgyz Republic is connected by road to Europe via Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Russia. The country also has roads connecting it with China. The Kyrgyz Republic has road access to East and South Asian countries via China and Pakistan (see Figure 1). The domestic road system is most dense near Lake Issyk-Ku
l and in the portion of the Fergana Valley that is part of the Kyrgyz Republic. Main roads in the country, with a total length of 18,828 km, are: A road in Osh

  • Bishkek - Osh - Irkeshtam - Kashgar (China)
  • Bishkek - Naryn - Torugart - Kashgar (China)                    A road in Osh
  • Bishkek - Balykchy - Karakol
  • Bishkek - Talas

                                                                                                                        Because of the country’s mountainous terrain, trucks carry more than 97% of cargo in the country. Passenger transportation is also dominated by automobiles, which carry 80% of all passengers. The roads of strategic significance, for example Bishkek–Osh, are being modernized to meet international standards with the assistance of a number of international donors. There is a great demand for further foreign assistance to solve the problem of infrastructure modernization, as Kyrgyz government financial resources cannot meet the cost of all needed improvements

Highways

The Kyrgyz Ministry of Transport and Communication has designated the following six major roads as needing to attract investment for upgrades:

1. Bishkek – Torugart Highway
Besides being the primary transport and communication link between Chui, Issyk-Kul and Naryn provinces, this road connects the country with Kazakhstan in the north, with China in the south and, beyond China, with Pakistan and India via the Kara-Korum Highway. The estimated cost of the project is USD 189 million. In 1996, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) provided a grant in the sum of USD 298,000 for a feasibility study, which has been completed.

2. Dhzambyl - Talas – Suusamyr Highway
This route connects the Chui, Osh, and Jalal-Abad provinces, and also allows communication with Kazakhstan to the north. Estimated cost of the project - USD 14 million. The IDB provided a grant of USD 280,000 for a feasibility study of this project and in May 2003 allocated USD 10.6 million for the reconstruction of this highway. The reconstruction will start in 2004 and will cover 54 kms from the Suusamyr side.

3. Osh - Sary-Tash – Irkeshtam Highway
The distance to be improved is 262 km, including 184 km of the Osh - Sary-Tash segment that is a part of the M-41 international highway, and 78 km of the Sary-Tash - Chinese border segment that is a part of the international road connecting Dushanbe - Dhzergatal - Karamyk - Sary-Tash - Irkeshtam. Estimated cost is USD 38 million.

4. Balykchy - Karakol - Balykchy - Tup – Kegen Highway
This 514 km road circling Lake Issyk-Kul is the basic transport route in Issyk-Kul province, and is crucial to cargo and passenger transportation. It links the Balykchy – Bishkek railroad and the Bishkek – Torugart Highway with the rest of the province. In the east, the road connects to a border crossing with Kazakhstan. The presence of medically beneficial mineral waters and the spectacular Lake Issyk-Kul are attracting developers of resorts and tourism to this region. The cost of the project USD 63 million.

5. Reconstruction of the Osh - Batken - Isfana Highway.
The reconstruction of this highway segment of 413 km is aimed at allowing travel between Osh and Batken without crossing into neighboring Uzbekistan. The estimated cost of the project is USD 133 million. The prospective date to attract investment is 2003.

6. Reconstruction of the Almaty - Bishkek – Tashkent Highway.
This is one of the major transport routes of the Kyrgyz Republic and connects it with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey. Plans call for construction of 232 km of multi-lane motorway and a parallel railway. The total cost of the project is USD 14 million.

RailwaysA diesel loco near the main train station in Bishkek

The Kyrgyz Republic’s railway system has the following main lines:

  • Balykchy - Bishkek - Lugovoe (further to Kazakhstan and Russia)
  • Osh - Jalal-Abad
  • Kok-Yangak - Kara-Suu
  • Kyzyl-Kiya - Tash-Kumyr (to Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Persian Gulf countries)                                                                                                                                                                                                         A diesel loco near the main train station in Bishkek

According to the Kyrgyz Ministry of Transport and Communications, the total length of the railroad system in the Kyrgyz Republic is 424.6 kms. The Kyrgyz railway system consists of two unconnected lines; a "Southern" line - 323.4 km and a "Northern" line - 101.2 km, which are both branches of the Trans-Asian corridor. The route Osh - Jalal-Abad - Kok-Yangak and the route Balykchy - Bishkek - Lugovoe (Kazakhstan) connect with Russia through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, respectively. It is expected that they will be connected to the proposed Eurasian rail corridor joining Europe, Central Asia and China.

A railroad line connecting Balykchy - Jalal-Abad - Torugart - China is still in the design phase. The construction of this railroad line will reduce the rail distance between Europe and Southeast Asia by 1100 km in comparison with the route of the Trans-Siberian Railway, and by 300 km in comparison with the Friendship Railway in Kazakhstan. The European Union program TACIS has provided USD 1 million for the preparation of a feasibility study of this project.

Another proposed project is the electrification of 322.7 km of railway between Lugovoe and Balykchy. The Kyrgyz Republic has no diesel fuel production. Its potential for hydroelectric power production is extensive, thus the desirability to convert the Lugovoe - Balykchy Railway section. Electrification will not only solve economic problems, but also will have a positive impact on ecological conditions in the Kyrgyz Republic. Estimated total cost of construction is USD 145 million. The cost of the first stage of construction of the Lugovoe - Alamedin segment (157 km) - is USD 69 million, while the second part, Alamedin - Balykchy (165,7 km), will cost USD 76 million.

Pipelines

The mountainous terrain of the Kyrgyz Republic limits pipeline transport. Pipeline transport includes sections of the Bukhara - Tashkent - Bishkek - Almaty pipeline and the Maili-Sai - Jalal-Abad - Kara-Suu - Osh pipeline.

Airports

In the Kyrgyz Republic there are two airports that have been upgraded to meet international standards: Manas International Airport in Bishkek and Osh International Airport. Regular international flights to the following countries are offered from Manas International Airport: UK, Germany, China, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Korea, UAE, and Russia. There are also eight local airports that handle internal flights.

Waterways

A small volume of transport by water occurs on Lake Issyk-Kul.

Transport companies                                                                     

Public transportation in Bishkek and the other major cities was provided by theMost of the intercity travelers having switched from the big state-run buses to minivans, the palatial halls of Bishkek's West Bus Terminal remain mostly deserted government until several years ago. The transport system was undercapitalized and badly managed. City administrations were unable to purchase new buses and trolleybuses or maintain the existing ones. The World Bank has allocated USD 24.44 million for reform in the municipal transport sector, including the rehabilitation of 98 km municipal roads in three major cities: Bishkek, Osh and Jalal-Abad. The World Bank also encouraged development of private sector public transportation services. As a result, private companies and individuals can pay license fees and a major part of public transportation is now provided by the private sector.

                                                                                                                          Most of the intercity travelers having switched from the big state-run buses to minivans, the palatial halls of Bishkek's West Bus Terminal remain mostly deserted

Cargo and intercity passenger transportation is provided by state-owned and private companies. The Bishkek municipal park has 234 trolley-buses and 30-35 buses. However, according to some estimates, 600 buses, 300 trolleybuses and around 400 minivans are needed. In addition, private companies and individuals provide passenger service using buses and minivans with 2100-2500 vehicles. Privatized companies provide cargo transportation for businesses and private clients. Also, customers can hire trucks belonging to self-employed drivers to transport goods.

Rail transport services are provided by the state-owned Kyrgyz Railroad Department (known as Kyrgyz Rail), which provides cargo and passenger services. The company moves predominately heavy raw materials and freight. It also carries a significant part of international passenger traffic (within the former Soviet Union) due to its low price in comparison with air and auto transport. According to Kyrgyz Rail, passenger service is not profitable and is subsidized by its freight service.

There are two state-owned airline companies: Kyrgyzstan Airlines and Altyn Air. The companies operate both international and domestic flights with Russian-made aircraft. The aircraft of both companies are relatively old. Privately-owned KyrgyzAir operates Boeing MD-82 aircraft on its Bishkek-Moscow route. There are several other small private airline companies: Phoenix, Itek Air, Botyr Avia, Aerovista, Quattro Aero and KAS (contact information is below). The following international carriers fly to Bishkek: British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Aeroflot and Tajik Airlines.

Cargo and express mail agents. A number of international express mail and cargo companies operate in the Kyrgyz Republic. DHL, FedEx and UPS have offices in Bishkek. In addition there are niche operators such as ARI Cargo, OCS and others.

Source: www.bisnis.doc.gov


              

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