Kazakhstan to Take Part in Construction of Trans-Afghan Railways

ASTANA – Kazakhstan is ready to engage in projects for the development of the trans-Afghan corridor, Deputy Prime Minister Serik Zhumangarin said at an April 24 meeting with Afghan Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Ghani Baradar during his visit to Afghanistan, reported the Prime Minister’s press service.

Serik Zhumangarin with Abdul Ghani Baradar. Photo credit: primeminister.kz

In particular, Kazakhstan is prepared to participate in constructing the Termez – Mazar-i-Sharif – Kabul – Peshawar and Herat – Kandahar – Spin Boldak railways. The project is expected to reduce the delivery time of goods between the countries by nearly ten times and decrease cargo transportation costs.

Kazakhstan is open to participating in constructing the trans-Afghan railways by supplying materials for the railway track’s upper structure, including sleepers and fastenings produced domestically.

Over the past three years, Kazakhstan has witnessed a steady growth of export transportation to Afghanistan, with rail transportation volume increasing 14% from the 2021 indicator to 2.7 million tons in 2023, of which 1.5 million tons were flour and grain. Forecasts suggest a further 40% increase in exports in the coming years, with anticipated traffic growth tripling by 2030.

A pilot project, organized with Kazakhstan Temir Zholy Express, was launched on April 24 to establish a new multimodal export route from Kazakhstan through Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan and onward by sea to the port of Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates. The expected delivery time of goods to their destination is 20-25 days.

Moreover, Kazakhstan has proposed considering the capacity of its Beineu terminal to increase the supply of Kazakh grain and flour to Afghanistan. The terminal in the Mangystau Region has sufficient infrastructure to serve as an overland transshipment storage terminal for exporting products.

With direct access to the Kazakh-Turkmen border, the terminal’s capacity allows it to ship up to 100,000 tons of grain, 12,000 tons of flour, and up to 3,000 tons of feed per month.

Kazakhstan can also transport Chinese cargo to South Asia. Today, its own terminal in Xian’s dry port consolidates 40% of all container trains coming to Kazakhstan from China.

Furthermore, a Kazakh-Chinese terminal operating in the port of Lianyungang facilitates the daily formation of two container trains to Kazakhstan.

With the construction of trans-Afghan railways, cargo will go from China through Kazakhstan to the west and Afghanistan towards Pakistan and India.

Kazakhstan also suggested diversifying the supply of Chinese products to Afghanistan via its territory along the China-Kazakhstan route (to Aktau), Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan (Turgundi/Ankhoy). This plan involves consolidating cargo at a terminal in the city of Xian.

Kazakh specialists estimate that organized container trains from Xian/Urumqi to Afghanistan (Turgundi/Ankhoy) would deliver goods within 10-12 days.

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