DUSHANBE, March 30, 2011, Asia-Plus  -- Uzbekistan has again raised transit fee for Tajikistan’s rail freight transport.

Ms. Suzanna Khachaturova, chairperson of the tariff department within Tajik Railways, says the Uzbek side has raised transit fees for carload shipments by 15 percent and for container cars by 74 percent.  “The new rates have been in effect since March 20,” Khachaturova said.

“The Uzbek side notified us of its decision to raise transit fees a month in advance,” noted she, “The Tajik Railways management has sent a letter to the Uzbek railway company, asking to cancel these rates but we have not yet received reply from them.  As far as we know, a similar letter has been sent to Uzbekistan at the governmental level as well.”

In August 2010, Uzbekistan raised transit fees and the Uzbek railway authorities justified their decision as resulting from increase in maintenance charges and fuel expenses.  This time, the Uzbek side has not clarified the reason for raising transit fee for Tajikistan’s rail freight transport, Khachaturova noted.

According to the preliminary estimates, if the rail shipping volumes do not change in 2011 and remain at the 2010 level, Tajik entrepreneurs’ additional expenses will amount to US$23 million due to rise in the transit fees for Tajikistan’s rail freight transport.

According to the Agency for Statistics under the President of Tajikistan, 1.636 million tons of cargo have been shipped by rail transportation over the first two months of this year, which is 109,600 tons more than in the same period last year.