Kazakhstan is the world’s ninth largest country, transport and logistics naturally becomes a hot topic. Kazakhstan is roughly the size of continental Europe. That means its business community is perpetually on the hunt for expert transport players to ferry vital goods across the country.
The economy of Kazakhstan relies largely on exports of raw materials and imports of machinery and equipment for industrial needs. Thus, the transport industry plays an important role in Kazakhstan’s successful economic development.
Kazakhstan’s burgeoning logistics sector
Establishing a more competitive, more efficient transport industry is one of the Kazakhstani government’s key developmental goals. State run programs are in place to boost the industry – but Kazakhstan requires international cooperation and expertise to really take it off the ground.
That said, transport and logistics in Kazakhstan is enjoying growth. Total ton-to-kilometer freight turnover stood at 514.7 ton/km in 2016 – an 0.9% increase against 2015’s levels. Since 2007, where total freight luggage across all non-pipeline transport modes stood at 2.12 billion tons, overall cargoes have reached 3.72 billion.
Kazakhstan connects continents
If you are looking to move cargo throughout Central Asia, the CIS countries, or into Asia proper, then Kazakhstan makes the ideal base. It borders five nations, sits on the Caspian Sea, and is crisscrossed by a wide number of important international transport corridors.
Kazakhstan is flanked on two sides by Russia and China. Wedged in between these two giants, and their significant consumer cultures and massive economies, is a competitive advantage for Kazakhstan. Elsewhere, it is bordered by Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan – ensuring connections with Central Asia, and beyond, are top notch.
These multi-modal routes have shaped Kazakhstan’s transport infrastructure – but they do allow goods to travel to Russia’s furthest reaches from the most easterly of China’s cities. Corridors bisecting Kazakhstan include:
• Northern Corridor of the Trans-Asian Railway Main (TARM) Western Europe – China, Korean Peninsula, and Japan via Russia and Kazakhstan (Dostyk - Akogai – Sayak – Mointy – Astana – Petropavlovsk section)
• Southern Corridor of TARM – China and Southeast Asia via Turkey, Iran, Central Asian states, and Kazakhstan (Dostyk – Aktogai – Almaty – Shu – Arys – Saryagash section)
• TRACEA – Eastern Europe – Central Asia via the Black Sea, Caucasus, and the Caspian Sea (Dostyk – Almaty – Aktau section)
• North-South Transport Corridor – Gulf States via Russia and Iran, via Kazakhstan (Aktau – Urals and Aktau – Atyrau sections)
El proyecto One Belt One Road de China, un equivalente moderno de la Ruta de la Seda, está listo para atravesar Asia Central con Kazajstán colocado firmemente como la «hebilla» del cinturón. Esto no solo significa miles de millones en gastos logísticos, en enlaces ferroviarios y por carretera y centros logísticos, sino que también significa tiempos de tránsito más rápidos a un costo menor.
Transport infrastructure gets cash boost in Kazahstan
Transport infrastructure is getting a big cash injection. $27 billion is being spent on building new roads and highways, port construction, investment in the aviation industry, and development of rail freight.
Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ) recently opened the Khorgos Gateway, the world’s biggest dry port, on the border with China. This $357 million logistics hub is to capture Chinese cargoes on their way across Asia into Europe. At its peak, Khorgos is expected to handle 200,000 containers a year. Even so, Khorgos Gateway is only a small slice of KTZ’s planned total $36.3 billion investment plan for improving connectivity with China over the next five years.
Elsewhere, along the Caspian Coast, we find a spate of port upgrades or brand new construction projects. Aktau, Kazakhstan’s only real major maritime centre, is getting a $1 billion bump courtesy of Dubai’s DP World.
Kazakhstan has been also building the Kuryk freight terminal. Kuryk is expected to handle 35% of the nation’s maritime trade and it will give Kazakhstan two major ports on the Caspian Sea as well.
International rail transport
Rail transport plays a leading role in EATL and, above all, in the intermodal services sector. For the development of intermodal transport, railways must: x Cooperate extensively with forwarders, operators, terminals, transport companies and logistics providers; x Offer competitive tariffs and be able to adjust them in accordance with the market situation; x Be flexible in the choice of routes and schedules; and x Cooperate at the international level to provide long-distance services. In international traffic, Kazakhstan's rail transport specializes in the transport of bulk cargo such as ore, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, oil, coal, grain and grain products, which account for more than 80% of the total volume of transported goods. The East-West and North-South transport routes have become more competitive in the transport services market. The main competitors for Kazakhstan railway routes in Euro-Asian transport are sea carriers, which provide more attractive terms (especially with regard to tariffs), as well as the Russian Railways. The Russian Federation is intensively upgrading its international transport corridors, especially in the Trans-Siberian direction, both technically and organizationally. The competition became even more acute after the commissioning of the Trans-Korean Railway in 2011, which reduces the time for the transport of Euro-Asian cargo.
Kazakhstan's position, situated between the main trading partners China, the Russian Federation and the countries of the European Union, is essential for the development of the country's transport and logistics system. According to experts' forecasts, by 2020 the volume of trade between China and the European Union will increase to US $ 1 trillion, and the total merchandise turnover will be about 170 million tonnes or about 17 million TEU.