Aktau, Kazakhstan (PortSEurope) May 18, 2019 – A cargo train belonging to the Uzbekistan Railways (Uzbekiston Temir Yollari), carrying 20-foot TEU containers, made the transit journey from the port of Aktau, the port on the eastern side of the Caspian Sea, the first transit cargo travelling from Kazakhstan’s Aktau port to Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent.
According to the company, the transit is a result of successful cooperation of the railway administrations of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, China, Iran and Turkmenistan, on freight transportation along the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR).
The Aktau Sea Trade Port is Kazakhstan’s main cargo and bulk terminal on the Caspian Sea. It is a key element of a number of international transport corridors, and has a role in China’s New Silk Road. This new development is another step by Aktau port to deliver services needed by businesses using the new Silk Road transit routes.
The new Silk Road (part of the Belt and Road initiative also known as One Belt, One Road, or OBOR) is a Chinese economic strategy to seek better access for Chinese-made products in European markets, which includes acquiring stakes in ports and other transport facilities, and cooperation agreements with countries along the Silk Road routes.
Earlier this year Aktau port started operating a regular container service linking its docks to Azerbaijan’s Baku port. The service will be operated by the Kazakhstani feeder vessel Turkestan, which ensures the loading of cargo of two full-capacity container trains.
Aktau port aims to ensure the efficiency of transit traffic through the territory of Kazakhstan through the logistics infrastructure of the Altynkol border station and Khorgos Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and Inland Container Terminal (ICD), which is strategically situated on the China-Kazakhstan border and has been acting as a primary transit point for trans-Eurasian cargo trains
Aktau and Khorgos are part of TITR (also known as the Middle Corridor), which combines the countries participating in the Silk Road project and important players of the region. Its members are maritime and transport companies from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, China and Turkey.
The organisation aims to popularise the Middle Corridor, accelerate and simplify cargo transportation procedures between Asia and Europe, and offers special preferential tariffs. Between East and West, in terms of cargo, the Middle Corridor helps to compete with the north-south routes.
TITR allows European companies to bypass Russia, which until now sanctions the transit of certain types of goods through the country. Also, a number of Russian entities are under sanctions from the international community following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014. The importance of this route was underlined with the inclusion of Georgia and Azerbaijan in the European Union (EU) TEN-T network.
Also, in March Chairman and CEO of DP World, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, met with Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Askar Mamin to discuss the possible investment by the company in Kazakhstan’s ports and logistics sectors. The talks follow the signing of two framework agreements between DP World and Kazakhstan for Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in Aktau and Khorgos.
DP World has been providing management services to the Port of Aktau and Khorgos SEZ and ICD. Both Aktau and Khorgos have the potential to develop as key staging posts on the new Silk Road. They need the renewal and installation of railway services to transports goods and containers.
In May Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev discussed with Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze the further development of cargo transport through Kazakh ports of Aktau and Kuryk in the framework of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR).
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