NUR-SULTAN – Narvik, one of Norway’s largest ports, can become an Atlantic port for Kazakhstan, said Narvik Port Authority Director and CEO Rune Johan Arnøy. He was in the Kazakh capital to participate in the Sept. 19-20 Coordinating Council on Trans-Siberian Transportation (CCTT) General Assembly plenary session.
“We met with the management of KTZ Express, a company that offers logistic services and multimodal transport in Kazakhstan. We believe this meeting will bring us forward in this New Silk Road, as they call it, from China to Europe and in our respect to Narvik being a gateway to North America,” he said in an interview for this story.
As a freight hub and transit port, Narvik is connected by rail with Sweden, which, in turn, is connected with Finland and further through Russia with Kazakhstan and China.
“It was interesting to listen to what other companies are doing to bring transport up and going using rail. It is very important that railway has a good price and a good timetable for doing that because there is a big competition among the shipping liners from the Asian ports to Europe. Possibly we can use the railroad as fast as it does today and maybe even faster, as the price is compatible to the shipping liners,” he said.
Narvik may become an important link in the trans-Eurasian transit and transport corridor, noted Kazakh Ambassador to Norway Yerkin Akhinzhanov at a meeting with Narvik Mayor Rune Edvardsen and Arnøy in early September.
“Before we came here, the Kazakh ambassador to Norway visited us in Narvik. We were very impressed by his knowledge not only of Norway, but also of Narvik. It is a small city compared to Nur-Sultan and he came to us and almost made us believe that he has been staying in Norway for many years. He tried to help us to set up some meetings,” he said.
Arnøy noted cooperation with KTZ Express is important “because they handle the rolling stock in containers, but they also have river containers that can be used from our port backwards with fish.”
“We want to have a balanced flow. If we can do fresh fish in the reef container in the new system coming up called blue wrap, it will benefit Russia, Kazakhstan and China. It can be a very big and interesting product. We will also try to find other ways to send things in return. Therefore, we are talking also with the ports in Canada just to see what kind of raw material they are sending to China today. Kazakhstan can use our ports and our railway connection to the country and to China instead of going to the Central European ports, which are more congested than we are, and that gives us the opportunity to do business with Kazakhstan,” he added.
Norway and Kazakhstan are similar in some ways such as resources, especially oil, noted Arnøy. He believes the country needs a great deal of equipment for the oil industry, which can also be handled on the route.
“We see there is a lot of a possibility, because we have an efficient transport corridor and this creates new possibilities. Therefore, it’s very interesting to have this talk with people working inside these systems and challenging them. We will just be eager to find good ways, good solutions that we can take back home. We will tell our business partners not only in Norway, but also in Sweden and Finland as well and also over the North Atlantic Sea, to Iceland to Canada and the U.S. about these possibilities. Using the railway also as a passenger train or tourist train option can also be of great interest,” he said.