Kazakhstan Initiates Construction of Railway to China to Boost Freight Turnover

ASTANA — Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov officially commenced the construction of the Bakhty-Ayagoz railway line, spanning 272 kilometers in the Abai Region via a teleconference on Dec. 21, anticipating a 20 million ton boost in freight turnover between Kazakhstan and China, reported the Prime Minister’s press service. 

Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov officially commenced the construction of the Bakhty-Ayagoz railway line via a teleconference on Dec. 21 Photo credit: Prime Minister’s press service

The initiation of this project aligns with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s directive to bolster Kazakhstan’s transport and transit potential. As part of the development, a third border crossing with China, Bakhty-Chuguchak, is set to open, fostering increased trade and connectivity between the two countries.

Тhe Bakhty-Ayagoz railway line, spanning 272 kilometers in the Abai Region, to boost freight turnover between Kazakhstan and China to 20 million tons. Photo credit: Prime Minister’s press service

The Bakhty-Ayagoz railway line is anticipated to substantially augment the throughput capacity between Kazakhstan and China, elevating it from 28 million tons to approximately 48 million tons. The initiative aims to alleviate congestion at southern checkpoints, attracting additional transit volumes and fostering economic growth. The double-track railway is scheduled to be operational by 2027.

Highlighting the collaborative nature of the endeavor, the large-scale project will involve a private investor under public-private partnership (PPP) principles. The construction will establish 11 stations, 47 bridges, 23 railways, eight road overpasses, five pedestrian bridges, and 16 observation structures. To support the project, over 500,000 units of sleepers and 36 tons of rails are planned to be procured from domestic manufacturers, with an emphasis on achieving at least 85% local content.

Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov emphasized the significance of this project amid rising cargo transport. Despite geopolitical challenges and infrastructure constraints, Kazakhstan witnessed a historic high in cargo transport volume last year, reaching 245 billion tons per kilometer.

“In the last five years, transit container traffic has surged by a factor of 3.2. Existing transit corridors are expanding, and new routes are emerging,” said Smailov, emphasizing the growing significance of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, North-South, and Southern Corridors.

Recognizing the current peak in throughput and infrastructure capacities, the Prime Minister highlighted the strategic decision to implement various railway infrastructure projects. These include the construction of second tracks on the Dostyk-Moyynty section, a new railway bypassing Almaty, and the Darbaza – Maktaaral railway line, collectively contributing over 1,300 km of new railways within three years.

Alikhan Smailov underscored the positive economic impact of the Bakhty-Ayagoz project on the Abai region and the entire country. Job creation through construction activities and the subsequent establishment of unloading and loading points is expected to provide opportunities for over 1,700 individuals.

Deputy Chairman of Kazakhstan Temir Zholy national company Kanat Almagambetov highlighted the economic benefits of the new railway line, anticipating an increase in Kazakh exports and transit of goods between Russia and China. He emphasized that the double-track line’s capacity would immediately meet the demands of transit cargo, stimulating the development of adjacent territories.

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