Middle Asian Ports
Middle Asian Ports
river and lake ports that handle cargo and passenger shipping on the Amu Darya River and the Aral Sea. Built during the Soviet period as a result of the economic development of the Middle Asian republics, the ports serve the Kazakh, Uzbek, Tadzhik, and Turkmen SSR’s. Since 1956 they have been managed by the Middle Asian Steamship Line of the Ministry of the Merchant Marine.
The most important Middle Asian port is Termez (along the upper course of the Amu Darya in the Uzbek SSR), which handles export-import shipments in conjunction with the Afghan port of Sher Khan and the landings at Kelif. The chief exports are industrial goods, metals, cement, mineral fertilizers, and petroleum products, and the main imports are cotton, fruit and vegetables, and various raw materials.
The economic importance of the ports of Aral’sk in the Kazakh SSR and Ushsai in the Kara-Kalpak ASSR (part of the Uzbek SSR) has diminished owing to a drop in the water level of the Aral Sea and the construction of the Kungrad-Makat rail line. At the same time, freight traffic is increasing at landings along the lower reaches of the Amu Darya River, especially at Sharlauk, which now handles some of the transshipment freight that formerly passed through the port of Aral’sk. The system of Middle Asian ports includes landings that operate on independent budgets, such as Khodzheili in the Kara-Kalpak ASSR (Uzbek SSR) and Chardzhou and Kerki in the Turkmen SSR. There are also 12 assigned landings that do not have independent budgets.
In 1975 the ports and landings of the Middle Asian Steamship Line loaded and unloaded almost 80 percent of the dry cargo and 60 percent of the petroleum transported in the Amu Darya basin. Their loading machinery included 11 shore cranes, 12 floating cranes, and roughly 80 other kinds of loading machines. In addition, the ports and landings of the basin organize ferry crossings for freight and passengers, which account for more than 50 percent of total cargo turnover. With the exception of the port of Ushsai, all the ports and landings are linked to the USSR’s railroad network.
S. P. ARSEN’EV