ALG terminal
Photo: ALG Terminal

China’s Lianyungang Port Group and Kazakhstan Railways are to develop a container hub in Aktau port to boost freight traffic between China, Asia-Pacific and Kazakhstan.

The agreement was signed yesterday during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, a day after Chinese president Xi Jinping visited Kazakhstan.

Mr Xi is pushing for more collaboration under the Belt and Road Initiative; in the decade since it started, the volumes of containers going through Kazakhstan on China-Europe-China routes have increased more than 100-fold, from 7,600 boxes in 2013 to 790,000 last year.

Lianyungang Port and Kazakhstan Railways will develop multimodal transport on the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route –also known as the Middle Corridor – and expand the deployment of China-Europe freight trains.

The corridor connects China and Kazakhstan, passing through the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and the Black Sea, before reaching Europe. Aktau port is the most crucial transit point on the route, being the key link to Azerbaijan’s Baku port.

And at the Beijing forum yesterday, Kazakh president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said his country would build 1,300km of new railways in the next three years, in line with the Belt and Road Initiative.

As the Central Asian country gears up for more cargo transport links with China, more infrastructure upgrades are in the pipeline.

Today, Kazakh container terminal operator ALG announced that German intermodal terminal specialist HPC Hamburg Port Consulting would “explore further upgrades” to its terminal in Almaty.

ALG CEO Indira Tanirbergenova explained: “The changes in trade routes across the Middle Corridor … have led to increased demand for efficient rail infrastructure in Kazakhstan. We believe that by working closely with HPC, we can better position ourselves to meet these demands and contribute to the growth of our region’s trade activities.”

Due to Russia’s war on Ukraine, more goods are expected to move from Asia to Europe by land through Kazakhstan, instead of passing through Russia.

HPC is tasked with reviewing the terminal concept, dwell times, train schedules, gate, loading and unloading processes and storage capacities.

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