Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) and CRRC Corporation Limited signed a framework agreement for the acquisition of 200 shunting and mainline locomotives worth USD 1.3 billion.
The agreement also includes the organisation of rolling stock maintenace centres in Kazakhstan as well as the establishment of an engineering centre. CRRC intends to invest more than USD 200 million in the new engineering facilities in Kazakhstan.
The procurement of the new shunting and mainline locomotives comes on the background of a 20-year period of cooperation between the two companies, CRRC supplying over 6,000 freight cars and about 300 passenger cars and locomotives to KTZ in the past.
>According to the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the country “is interested in localisation of locomotive production with application of advanced technologies and creation of service centres for maintenance of railway equipment”, adding that “Kazakhstan is a key transport and logistics hub through which CRRC can get access to the Eurasian and European markets, supporting the company’s plans to invest some USD 200 million.”
The cooperation agreement was signed on October 17, during the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Forum, when a meeting was held between the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, and the executive director and chairman of the board of CRRC, Sun Yongcai.
At the event held in Beijing Kazakhstan Temir Zholy signed several other cooperation agreements with Chinese Railways, Huawei and Lianyungang Port Group LLC.
Kazakhstan Temir Zholy is expanding and renewing its freight and passenger rolling stock. The company has an ongoing contract for 50 diesel freight locomotives manufactured by Bryansk Machine-Building Plant, part of TMH, which started the delivery in September 2023.
In 2022, KTZ and Wabtec signed an agreement for the delivery of 150 battery-electric shunting locomotives and for the conversion of the mainline locomotives into liquid natural gas-powered units.
Alstom has a long cooperation agreement with KTZ. The French manufacturer is producing 250 freight KZ8A locomotives (Prima T8 locomotives) and 119 passenger KZ4AT locomotives (Prima T4 locomotives) which can operate at speeds of up to 200 km/h in temperatures ranging from -50°C to +50°C. Alstom is also producing 10,000 point machines P80 for KTZ.
Stadler is another European manufacturer that has signed with KTZ three contracts worth EUR 2.3 billion for the supply of 537 sleeper and couchette coaches with options to order additional vehicles from 2030.
In the last ten years, container cargo turnover between Kazakhstan and China exceeded 6.5 million containers, while volumes in the China – Europe – China direction increased more than 100 times, from 7.6 thousand in 2013 to 790 thousand containers in 2022.
In the first nine months of 2023, export transport by rail in Kazakhstan increased by 7.4% compared to the same period of 2022 and amounted 63 million tonnes. The transport of oil increased by 2.8 times, grains by 40%, iron ore and chemicals by more than 25% and fertilizers and non-ferrous ore by 17% and 14% respectively.
China and Uzbekistan were the most important partners. In January – September 2023, coal exports to and through China increased 4.4 times, grain by 3.7 times and chemicals by 38 times. The exports of iron ore also increased by 15%, non-ferrous metals by 30%, petroleum products by 28% and non-ferrous ore by 20%.
Related to Uzbekistan, the volume of export transport of grain increased by 27%, ferrous metals and petroleum products by 18%, chemical and mineral fertilisers by 57%, oil, by 78%, and construction materials by 36%. Coal shipments increased 2.1 times through the Saryagash junction, the main cargo flow transit corridor between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan which currently is used at peak capacity. The two countries are discussing on the construction of the 106 km Darbaza – Maktaaral new railway line which will relieve cargo traffic on Saryagash rail junction and is expected to attract up to 10 million tonnes per year.
In February 2023, the Marat Koraboev Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development of Kazakhstan and Atamkulov Beibut, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan discussed about the implementation of this project and increase freight transport by expanding countries’ cooperation in transport field.