ASTANA – Kazakhstan shipped 8.3 million tons of cargo to China by rail in the first six months of 2023, 37% more than in the same period last year, according to the outcomes reported on July 21 by the Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) national railway company.
Kazakhstan has tripled grain exports to one million tons, metal ore by 15% to four million tons, including 2.6 million tons of iron, 25% more than in January-June last year.
Exports of non-ferrous metals grew by 55% to 220,000 tons, and vegetable oils by 70% to 75,000 tons.
The import from China increased by 13% to 5.4 million tons in the first half of 2023, with a 13% growth in cars, 30% in construction materials, and 5% in chemicals.
The volume of rail freight transportation between the countries totaled 13.7 million tons, which is 26% more than in the same period last year.
“Joint actions and coordinated work of border station employees contribute to an increase in the volume of cargo transportation by rail through border crossings with China,” reads the press statement.
KTZ also transported more than 2.1 million passengers by train from June 1 to July 20, considering a tremendous demand for railway transport in the summer, 32% of the total share of the annual passenger turnover.
The national company carried 13.9 million passengers last year, 4.4 million in the summer, with over one million passengers traveling monthly.
According to KTZ, passenger traffic in the autumn reaches 23% or 3.3 million people, 20% or 2.8 million in the winter, and 25% or 3.4 million in the spring.
The railway network has a total of 140 routes, serving 14 carriers.
At an offsite meeting, KTZ discussed the construction of the second tracks on the Dostyk-Moiynty railway section, one of the measures to develop the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR).
“Currently, work is underway to fill the subgrade, build bridges and install culverts,” reads the press statement.
Some 18 construction organizations are working on the subgrade foundation, using 465 equipment units and involving more than 1,000 workers.
The first kilometers of the second track were laid at the Sarykum-Buirek section. Over 145 kilometers of rail-sleeper grid assembled at the string assembly shops are ready for laying. Reinforced concrete sleepers, rails, and other items used in construction are produced at domestic plants.
As stated by the KTZ press service, the large-scale infrastructure project will increase the area’s throughput capacity five-fold, ensure uninterrupted export of products and expand the country’s transit potential.
Since the beginning of the year, rail transportation of goods along the TITR, also known as the Middle Corridor, which runs through China, Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Türkiye, and further to European countries, has increased by 77.2% to over 1.3 million tons.
In the first half of 2023, the TITR key links, including the Aktau and Kuryk ports in the Mangystau Region of Kazakhstan, transhipped 2.3 million tons and over one million tons of cargo, respectively.
German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called them “a junction of the Middle Corridor” as he toured the ports last month during his visit to Kazakhstan.