Kazakhstan plans to become a logistics hub between Asia and Europe

container_trainTowards the end of last year, Kazakhstan approved an infrastructure development plan to be developed in the period 2014-2020. In fact, this is the first large-scale plan adopted by Kazakhstan and aimed at developing the transport infrastructure and its integration in the global transport system. The plan is partially developed with the help of World Bank being previously approved by all agencies and local and state associations in Kazakhstan.

The project will increase transit two-fold and will integrate the Kazakh State into the international transport system. The project is aimed to develop the regional and national transport infrastructure, declared the Kazakh Minister of Transport and Communications, Askar Zhumagaliyev, during the official presentation of the project. Overall, the sum granted to this investment programme will be of KZT 5,000 Billion, which is around EUR 24 Billion.
At the end of 2012, Kazakhstan was ranked 86th in World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index. However, planned comprehensive measures to improve the quality of transportation, as well as the removal of physical and non-physical barriers, are expected to provide Kazakhstan the opportunity to rise to the 40th place of the same Logistics Performance Index of the World Bank. The investment programme plans to develop all transport modes by 2020. Special attention will be paid to railway transport by building 8.202 kilometres of railways and upgrading all the 302 rail stations of the national railway network. Also, the programme includes a series of measures aimed at increasing the development of transport infrastructure.

Freight terminals operated by a single integrated structure

The changes expected in the railway transport sector are most probably focused on completing a logistics hub statute in the Eurasian Platform.
Thus, the Zhezkazgan – Beineu and Arkalyk – Shubarkol lines are currently under construction. In addition, the line between the Zhetygen station and Kazybek station, which bypasses Almaty, will be built from 2015 to 2017 through a public-private partnership.
Overall, it is expected that by 2020, 81% of state railways will be assessed as “good” and 19 percent – as “satisfactory”. In addition, in light of the rolling stock fleet shortage, more than 650 locomotives, over 20,000 freight cars and 1,138 passenger coaches will be upgraded.
The transport development programme stipulates the improvement of maritime transport infrastructure at the same time with railway transport infrastructure. Thus, the project includes the extension of Aktau Port’s capacity by adding three terminals for bulk handling. Thus, the logistics capa-city of the port will increase from 16.8 million tonnes per year to 20.5 million tonnes per year.
“Kazakhstan, with its location at the crossroads of several international transport corridors, meets all prerequisites for becoming a major logistics hub connecting Europe and Asia,” Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov declared. Moreover, Akhmetov stressed that President Nursultan Nazarbayev pays special attention to the development of transit potential, the implementation of major infrastructure projects and the integration of the region into international transport corridors.
Due to its full range of assets and skills, Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ) will become the main multimodal logistics operator behind the plan. The company will also ope-rate the Aktau Seaport, SEZ Khorgos – East Gates, the country’s airports and domestic terminal network.
According to Minister Zhumagaliyev, the integration of transport assets into a single structure will provide the necessary level of coordination and management for multimodal integrated services.
President of KTZ Askar Mamin talked about the development of the transport and logistics system. According to him, to improve competitiveness and increase transit capacity, the company is implementing a business strategy to promote its services and improve its quality and efficiency. At present, 14 freight train routes run between Asia and Europe.
Moreover, the key project of the Common Economic Space is the creation of an integrated transport and logistics company. The railway administration of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus will provide integrated services based on the principles of the “single window”. This project will ensure integrated transport services.
In the shortest time possible, a feasibility study on the construction of transport and logistics centres in Kazakhstan will be completed leading to a growth of national eco-nomy. Added value from improvement of transport and logistics system will amount to USD 15 Billion, expressed in a 1% growth of Kazakhstan’s GDP.

Agreement to consolidate container transport

The heads of railway and maritime admi-nistrations and the representatives of business organisations in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia adopted a joint action plan at the end of October last year on the organisation of freight transport in 2013-2014.
Kazakhstan Railways, Azerbaijan Railways and Georgian Railways participated in the reunion held in Aktau together with the International Commercial Port of Aktau,
Azerbaijan State Caspian Shipping Company and Kazakh companies KazMunaiGas, Kazmortransflot, KrosKaspianOil & GazLogistiks, companies involved in the transport of freight and oil products to and from the Caspian Sea.
The participants also talked about traffic growth conditions in 2013-2014 and about the possibility of increasing container transport while considering that important projects have been launched, such as the construction of two dry terminals and of a container switchyard in the Kazakh port of Aktau, the construction of a port in Alat (Azerbaijan), the construction of the railway lines Zhezkazgan – Beineu (Kazakhstan) and Akhalkalaki – Kars (Georgia, Turkey).
Also, the signatory parts of the agreement said they will analyse the possibility of organising a transport to and from Turkey, thus involving the basins of the Black Sea and of the Mediterranean Sea in the transport process.

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