Corridor 3 connects the Russian Federation with the Middle East and South Asia, passing through the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan. It starts from the border crossing point at Veseloyarsk (Russia) – Aul (Kazakhstan) and continues along several Kazakh cities (Semey, Charskaya and Aktogay) until Almaty:
- Corridor 3a then passes through Uzbekistan and continues towards Turkmenistan via Alat (Uzbekistan) – Farap (Turkmenistan) border crossing point;
- Corridor 3b continues towards Kyrgyzstan via Kordai (Kazakhstan) – Ak Zhol (Kyrgyzstan).
Source: Asian Development Bank (2014). Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Corridor Performance Measurement and Monitoring. A Forward-Looking Retrospective. pp. 65
Corridor 3 includes 6,900 km of roads, 4,800 km of railway and a logistic centre. The railway follows almost the same route as Corridor 3a. The Uzbek segment of the corridor represents the most transited road section from corridors 2, 3, 5 and 6, connecting the Kokand region with a key transport hub in Navoi and other important Uzbek cities such as Tashkent, Samarkand, and Bukhara.
Corridor 3a is used to transport manufactured goods, machines and equipment from Iran to Central Asia, usually originating from Sarakhs (Iran), towards different destinations such as Andijan (Uzbekistan), Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Dushanbe (Tajikistan), or Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan). Corridor 3b is used to transport agricultural products and textiles from Central Asia to Russia, as well as equipment and manufactured goods in the opposite direction towards Central Asian countries.
There are 31 projects already implemented or ongoing along this corridor, out of which 12 are in Afghanistan, 8 in Tajikistan, 6 in Kyrgyzstan, 3 in Kazakhstan, and 2 are regional ones. While some projects are focused on improving connectivity with other corridors (for instance the rehabilitation of the road linking this corridor with Corridor 1, through Suusamyr valley in Kyrgyzstan), others aim to improve national infrastructure.
- In Kyrgyzstan, the rehabilitation of a road from Bishkek to Kara Balta and another one from Madaniyat to Jalalabad is ongoing (totalizing 120 km), a project that involves investment of up to USD 190 million. Between 2010 and 2014, the road linking Sary-Tash with Karamik was paved, with investment cumulating USD 32 million. Moreover, the Kyrgyz part of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan corridor was finished, amounting to almost USD 40 million in investment.
- In Tajikistan, Sayron-Karamyk and Vose-Khovaling routes are improved (totalizing 175 km), through investment reaching approximately USD 90 million. The road linking Dushanbe with the Uzbek border was already rehabilitated (57 km) and border crossing point facilities were improved, with investment reaching USD 154 million. Moreover, 127 km of the corridor connecting Dushanbe with the Kyrgyz border were rehabilitated during 2009-2010, while in 2013 the Tajik component of the corridor China-Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan was finalized.
- In Kazakhstan, 37 km of the road linking Tashkent with Shymkent, one of the main industrial cities in the country, were rehabilitated between 2012 and 2016.
- In Afghanistan, 90 km of the Qaisar-Bala Murghab section were rehabilitated, while 143 km of the section Bala Murghab-Laman were constructed – sections that are part of the Herat-Andkhoy route – involving investment of more than USD 250 million. In addition, the first tranche of the Transport Network Development Investment Program is currently ongoing, involving the improvement of 145 km of roads and the construction of 75 km of railway between Hairatan and Mazar-e-Sharif, with total investment reaching USD 233 million. The North-South Corridor project, implemented between 2006 and 2013, led to the rehabilitation of over 140 km of highway, from Mazar-e-Sharifa to Dara-i-Suf, and approximately 100 km of the road Bamian-Yakawlang, totalizing over USD 140 million in investment. In 2014, the reconstruction of 210 km from the road linking Andkhoy and Qaisar was finished, a project amounting to USD 80 million. Seven regional airports (Bamyan, Chaghcharan, Faizabadm, Farah, Maimana, Qalai-Naw and Zaranj) were also rehabilitated in the country between 2004 and 2014.
- At regional level, multiple projects focused on modernizing border crossing points in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, with the aim of improving the efficiency of regional transport – total investment reached more than USD 21 billion.
According to the Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy (TTFS) 2020, Corridor 3 is the only one where the majority of investment planned until 2020 will focus on the railway sector. Most future projects will be implemented in Afghanistan, aiming to complete the railway route between Andkhoy and Shirkhan Bandar that links Tajikistan with Turkmenistan via Afghanistan. Significant projects in the railway sector are also planned in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Other future projects included in TTFS 2020 refer to building the road between Bishkek and Osh, a logistic centre in Osh, and modernising border-crossing points in Konysbaeva (Kazakhstan), Karamyk (Kyrgyzstan) and Alat (Uzbekistan).
- Asian Development Bank (2014). Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Corridor Performance Measurement and Monitoring. A Forward-Looking Retrospective. pp. 7 and 64-65;
- Asian Development Bank (2014). CAREC Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy 2020 23;
- Haider M. (2016). Corridor to Progress, The News International;