ASTANA — The ninth meeting of the operational working group on the development of cross-border hubs, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Serik Zhumangarin, on Dec. 5, shed light on the progress made in expanding the international North-South transport corridor and plans to increase the cargo volume along the corridor from six to an impressive 20 million tons annually, Prime Minister’s press service reported.
The managing director of Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ), Bauyrzhan Urynbasarov, presented the analysis of interstate checkpoints’ effectiveness and proposed measures for improvement in cooperation with the Russian Railways.
A comprehensive plan from 2023 to 2025 to enhance the capacity of the North-South corridor includes lengthening tracks at the Iletsk-1 station and constructing second tracks with automatic blocking on the Orsk-Kandyagash section, extending 213 km. This initiative aims to double the number of trains received from the Russian Federation, from seven to 15 pairs per day.
The plan also includes the construction of four sidings on the Makat–Shubarkudyk section and three on the Mangyshlak–Uzen section, all equipped with automatic blocking systems. Plans encompass the addition of second tracks on various sections, such as Iletsk-1 – Aktobe (195 km), Kandyagash – Kigash (808 km), Shalkar – Beineu (496 km), Beineu-Mangystau-Aktau Port, Kuryk-Port (490 km), and Uzen–Bolashak (147 km). Once completed, these upgrades are expected to increase the cargo transportation volume along the North-South corridor from 6 to an impressive 20 million tons annually.
At the Caspian hub, efforts are underway to construct a container hub within the Aktau Seaport Special Economic Zone (SEZ). A 19-hectare land plot has been reserved for this purpose, with ongoing work focusing on infrastructure installation and the development of design and estimate documentation for an additional power plant with distribution networks. The complete draft concept for the Caspian hub’s development, seen as a crucial link in alternative trade routes, is expected to be presented by the end of the year.
The Khorgos node in the Zhetisu Region stands out as a pivotal project in the network of cross-border hubs in Kazakhstan. Comprising the Khorgos International Centre of Boundary Cooperation (ICBC), the Khorgos-East Gate SEZ, Nur-Zholy checkpoint, Altynkol railway station, and Dry port railway terminal, the project aims to boost export volumes, transit, and industrial cooperation.
According to the akimat (local administration) of the Zhetisu region, the SEZ currently boasts 48 registered participants, with 15 enterprises in operation, generating a total value of 48.7 billion tenge ($105 million) and creating 1,600 jobs. Six additional projects worth 1.7 billion tenge ($3.6 million) are set to be commissioned by year-end. The Khorgos ICBC has seen a total income of 1.5 billion tenge ($3.2 million), with tourist numbers surpassing 423,000 people. Notably, 8,000 tons of luggage were transported through the Khorgos International Center from April to November. The cumulative investments in the project to date have reached an impressive 141 billion tenge ($304 million), showcasing the economic impact of these strategic developments.