ASTANA –Kazakhstan Temir Zholy national railway company President Kanat Alpysbayev and Director General of China Railways Lu Dongfu signed an agreement April 13 in Beijing to launch a China-to-Europe container train route through Kazakhstan.
The sides also agreed to launch the Astana-Altynkol high-speed passenger train in May using Tulpar-Talgo LLP railway carriages. This is a project within the EXPO2017 international exhibition in Astana.
The sides also discussed bilateral rail cooperation within the Nurly Zhol programme and the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative.
China has developed a five-year plan for the development of international container transport between China and Europe.
The volume of container shipments from China to Europe was104,500 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2016,twice as much as 2015. By 2020, volume is expected to increase to 800,000 TEUs.
The results of the operational work of Kazakh and Chinese railways for 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 were considered at the meeting. Last year, the volume of transport between Kazakhstan and China was more than 8 million tonnes of cargo, which is 16.6 percent more than in 2015. In 2017, more than 10 million tonnes of cargo are planned to be transported through the railway border crossings of the two states.
Alpysbayev informed the Chinese side on measures to reorient container cargo flows from the interstate point of the Alashankou – Dostyk to Khorgos – Altynkol with processing at the Dry Port of the Khorgos – Eastern Gate Special Economic Zone (SEZ).