On 11 May the first direct railway connection in history between Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan was opened in the presence of the Kazakh and Turkmen presidents. The inaugurated railway line is part of the North-South project which links Central Asia (and China and Russia) with the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. The last section of the line will be completed by the end of this year and will ensure Iran and Turkmenistan are connected. The current capacity of the railway line is 3-5 million tonnes annually and estimations predict that in the medium term this figure will increase to 10 million tonnes annually. The construction of the new railway line has been financed by the countries involved in this project and the Asian Development Bank (as part of the CAREC programme). This route will be used above all for exports of Kazakh wheat and oil as well as for the transit of goods to and from Afghanistan, including oil products which are now transported mainly through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.