Central Asia plays a key role in international railway transport, a Russian official said here Tuesday. Speaking at an international rail business forum held here, Russian Railways head Vladimir Yakunin said the region was important to the development of international transport corridors. \"The rapid economic growth of countries in the Asia-Pacific region and the territorial attraction of their industrial basis ... conjure before us ever new prospects for increasing volumes of freight flows towards Europe,\" he said. The Strategic Partnership 1520 forum is aimed at strengthening relations among railway systems and developing business cooperation in the Central Asian region. Rail is currently one of the key areas uniting countries with the single standard rail gauge of 1520 mm. The forum brought together national railway companies from Kazakhstan, Russia and other countries as well as a wide range of companies dealing with railway transportation and engineering. The participants were expected to review the needs of Central Asia and help unlock its huge potential in both logistics and transit. The forum has built on previous discussions in Sochi, Russia, earlier this year, which explored new opportunities in boosting trans-Eurasian transport corridors. The measures discussed included encouraging more competitive transport products to feed the growing number of manufacturing facilities in Central and Western China, expanding container business on the East-West route, creating modern rolling stock and developing a vibrant passenger transportation market.