ALMATY REGION – Recently, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy organised a press tour of the Zhetisu district on the Kazakh-Chinese border, which is experiencing a construction boom.
Altynkol Station became the second node after Dostyk International Border Crossing in a new transport corridor with China. There is a railway station, centralised electric infrastructure, wagon and engine maintenance facilities, a trans-shipment terminal and temporary warehouses.
Vyacheslav Mironov, the new head of the railway station, said this strategic facility processed more than 1.5 million tons of cargo. This number is nowhere near capacity. By 2020, turnover at Altynkol is expected to reach 12 million tons.
The Zhetygen – Korgas line shrank the length of railroad between China and Southern Kazakhstan and Central Asia by 500 km. The commissioning of this railway improved transport service for the local population and created about two thousand permanent jobs and has helped set social norms.
Near the border sits Nurkent, a village with fully furnished cottages and apartments, a school and a kindergarten. All engineering utilities were paid for by the state and houses and social facilities were heated and hooked up to water and electricity using state funds as well.
The Almaty – Altynkol train delivers passengers to ICBC Khorgos. We visited the huge cross-border cooperation centre. In the Chinese part of the centre, the Jian Yuan and Zhong Ke trading houses, an ethnographic park of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) countries and an international tourist centre have been built. The checkpoint, which is able to handle 10.4 thousand visitors a day, has modern equipment. Visitors enjoy a 30-day visa-free regime. Goods imported to Kazakhstan are not subject to customs duties if their value does not exceed 1,500 Euros and their weight is not more than 50 kg.
The first Kazakhstan-China trade fair, titled “On the Silk Road to Khorgos” was held there. The event was attended by more than 11,000 people. Now, people from Almaty, other parts of Kazakhstan, the CIS, Europe and Asia visit the complex for tourism and to shop.
At the briefing, Vice-President of ICBC Khorgos Erik Yessenbayev noted that now they are actively working to attract investments. Contracts have already been signed on 22 projects worth 35.8 billion tenge (US$232.5 million) out of a total 111 planned projects. A hotel network, tourist and shopping malls and cultural and sport complexes will be built in Kazakhstan.
The 5,740 hectare SEZ Khorgos – East Gate is being built in the Panfilov district. Chemicals, steel products, foods, textiles and other goods will be manufactured in a special economic zone there. Investors from Singapore, South Korea, Japan, the UAE and other countries show particular interest in the Khorgos dry port.
The main objective is to create a unique global transport, logistics and industrial hub. The Almaty – Khorgos motorway, part of the Western Europe – Western China road corridor, is already under construction. In the future, an ultra-modern business city with an international airport and a population of 70,000 will characterize the area.
The full commissioning of the ICBC is scheduled for 2018. The centre’s management invites domestic and foreign investors to take the remaining vacant niches in the Silk Road project.