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The Ministry of Railway Transport of Turkmenistan will sign a contract with the Turkish company Net Yapi ve Ticaret Mühendislik Mimarlik Müsavirlik Limited Sirketi, the official Turkmen source said.

The North-South Transnational Corridor is a 677km-long railway line connecting the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan with Iran and the Persian Gulf.

It will link Uzen in Kazakhstan with Gyzylgaya-Bereket-Etrek in Turkmenistan and end at Gorgan in Iran’s Golestan province.

In Iran, the railway will be linked to national network making its way to the ports of the Persian Gulf.

The project is estimated to cost $620 millions (RM1,911,094,200) which is being jointly funded by the governments of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran.

Construction of the rail lines is in progress in the three countries.

The contract will be signed according to the order of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to further develop the industry and bring into line with international standards the Gyzylgaya-Bereket-Etrek railway, which is part of the regional North-South project, which involving neighboring Iran and Kazakhstan.

This is a contract for the purchase of equipment for power supply systems, alerts, links with length of 131 km between the Buzhun and Serhetyaka stations. Under the conditions, Turkish company will be engaged in design and implementation of construction works on this site, power transmission line (110 kW) with a length of 234 km between the stations Gyzylgaya, Buzhun and Garnyyaryk, transformer stations (110/10 kW) at Buzhun and Garnyyaryk stations, as well as design and construction at the Serhetyaka station of ring depot for maintenance of locomotives and wagons.

The document instructs to begin work in March, 2012 and commission facilities with full readiness in March, 2013.

The Government of Turkmenistan aims to enhance its pro-poor economic growth by improving the transport infrastructure.

As the country has significant potential for transporting bulk goods such as oil and gas, mineral resources, agricultural products and textiles, the rail link will serve as a key link connecting the neighbouring countries.

Currently all the imports and exports are transited via road across the borders.

The project also aims to create a multimodal transport system to provide seamless connectivity in the region for passenger travel as well.

The north-south railway line will improve Turkmenistan’s accessibility to Kazakhstan, the Persian Gulf countries, the Russian Federation, and South Asia, and increase regional trade.

The Project will contribute to sustainable economic growth in Turkmenistan and development of an integrated and efficient railway system in the region.

The Project will reduce the transport cost, cut travel time, and improve accessibility to rural areas of the country.

This will generate benefits beyond railway transport cost and time savings. Experience in Europe and Africa indicates that transit traffic is usually a lucrative business for railways, governments, and the service sector including logistics.

There are estimated commercial mineral resources in areas along the alignment that could be developed as a result of the heavy haul capacity of the railway.

The new railway line will also help implement the Awaza National Tourism Zone Project in Turkmenistan, simplifying transport of construction materials and logistics support to the zone. The rail link is expected to be ready for service by 2012.

The North-South Transnational Corridor will run up to 137km in Kazakhstan, 470km in Turkmenistan and 70km in Iran.

Work in Turkmenistan commenced in Bereket in December 2007 and in Kazakhstan in July 2009.

Kazakhstan has, however, put the project on hold for 18 months due to the current financial crisis.

As of July 2010, about 300km of rail track was laid in Turkmenistan. The remaining 377km is scheduled for completion by the end of 2010.

A 311km section between Bereket and Buzhan in Turkmenistan is being financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

A memorandum of understanding was signed between ADB and the Turkmenistan government in February 2010 for a $350 millions (RM1,078,843,500) loan as a special fund for technical assistance.

The project loan, which is due for approval in 2010, will be used towards the installation of signaling and communication equipment on the ongoing railway line, procurement of equipment and maintenance facilities, consulting, and for the management and supervision of construction.

The project also received a loan of $371.2 millions (RM1,144,190,592) from the Islamic Development Bank in July 2010.

Source: ADB – Turkmenistan: North-South Railway Project, turkishweekly and railway-technology.com

(this article written for 1BINA.my)