ASTANA – The second “Kazakhstan – New Silk Road” International Transport and Logistics Business Forum organised by the country’s Union of Forwarders “KAZLOGISTICS” took place on Nov. 6 and 7at the Palace of Independence in Astana.
Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Serik Akhmetov opened the forum and read a greeting speech from President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The President highlighted the key role logistics play in securing stable economic growth in the country.
“In regards to globalisation, the transport sector is key in the leverage of economic prosperity, not only for our country, but for Central Asia as a whole,” read the presidential statement.
According to President Nazarbayev, such a large-scale transport and logistics business forum is a significant event for Kazakhstan, especially since the Silk Road is being revived as an ancient route that once symbolized intercivilizational interaction between East and West. Kazakhstan has always served as a major hub on the Silk Road. Moreover, this project provides Kazakhstan with the infrastructure needed to propel it into the 30 most developed countries.
“The dynamic development of Kazakhstan’s economy, large-scale industrialisation and industrial modernisation stimulate the development of economic relations with foreign states and strengthen the country’s transportation potential,” the President said in his statement.
In his own remarks, Akhmetov expressed hope that while establishing competitive transport corridors, participants of the Eurasian transport system will pull their resources and efforts together.
“We believe it is important to employ multilateral principles in order to consolidate all stakeholders in the Eurasian transport and logistics system and to develop effective solutions while building highly competitive transcontinental transport corridors,” he said.
According to the Prime Minister, that is why Kazakhstan has created this interactive platform as a business forum responding to growing intercontinental trade.
The forum provoked discussions on the results of measures taken by the state for the development of transport and logistics systems. It also allowed participants to share the latest developments in logistics practices, exchange experience in using different logistics systems and technologies and develop efficient modern solutions as well as talk about development prospects. Considerable attention was paid to interstate cooperation between Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus in the framework of the Common Economic Space and the creation of an integrated transport and logistics company of the Customs Union.
The many speakers of the forum included Minister of Energy and Infrastructure – Member of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Danial Akhmetov, President of Russian Railways JSC Vladimir Yakunin, CEO of Chinese Railways Sheng Guangzu, President of DB Schenker Karl-Friedrich Rausch, Senior Vice President of Hewlett-Packard Tony Prophet, President of General Electric Transportation Lorenzo Simonelli, Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania Rimantas Sinkevičius, Minister of Transport of the Republic of Latvia Anrijs Matiss, as well as heads of the railway administrations of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Iran and China.
More than 300 delegates of the forum also included heads of the national railway companies of Kazakhstan, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Georgia, as well as heads of the leading transport and logistics enterprises from the European Union and CIS.
According to experts, about three billion people live along the Silk Road, which is considered very beneficial for transport development.
“Kazakhstan’s geographic location and the implementation of the new Silk Road envisages developing cooperation with railway and maritime administrations in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and the countries in South Europe,” Askar Mamin, head of Kazakhstan’s national railway company KazakhstanTemirZholy, said at the forum. “The potential of such a transport corridor passing through the territories of these countries significantly expands with the implementation of such projects as a new railway line Zhezkazgan-Beineu, the expansion of the Port of Aktau on the Caspian Sea, the completion of a railway section Kars-Akhalkalaki, and the launch of the tunnel under the Bosporus Strait.”
The Kazakhstan – New Silk Road project is seen as a way to establish an international transport and logistics system aimed at facilitating cargo movement across the Eurasian continent and establishing effective channels to deliver any cargo via any type of transport from one point to another through Kazakhstan. Experts estimate the volume of investment needed to develop this system fully at US$ 60 billion.