Kazakhstan Railways aims to lure shippers away from ocean routes

Hong Kong: Ocean carriers will watch with interest the latest ramp up in cargo rail connections between China and Europe. To date, intercontinental rail connections have not shaved too much business away from the world’s container carriers, but one player has big plans for the sector.

Kazakhstan Railways 100% owned subsidiary KTZ Express has opened a new office in Hong Kong to build import and export trade between Central Asia, China, Asia and Europe.

On the ground $3bn will be invested in rail infrastructure in Kazakhstan this year providing a national freight network.  
With transit times of 15 days from China to Europe the rail service will provide time definite services direct to industrial and commercial centres, saving more than two-thirds in time (45 days) when compared to ocean transit times.

To further expand its reach into Asian markets KTZ Express has invested in a $100m intermodal freight and logistics centre at the port of Lianyungang on China’s eastern seaboard.

This 21 hectare facility will have capacity for 500,000 teu per year and provide direct access to Central Asia for shippers from Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia, moving cargo by sea to Lianyungang and then by rail to Kazakhstan.    

“This is a very exciting development as shippers from Asia currently have to use ocean freight to Europe and then truck or rail to Central Asia. Now they can access these markets directly by rail from China saving time and cost,” said Sanzhar Yelubayev, president of KTZ Express.   

In other developments a new inland container port is under construction at Khorgos on the China-Kazakhstan border, this is aimed to provide a regional distribution centre for the growing trade between China and Kazakhstan. Khorgos East Gate is a Special Economic Zone with Customs Bonded area and Visa free access.

“Khorgos is a distribution hub designed for Chinese freight forwarders to access Central Asian markets by road and rail with minimal Customs regulations and tariffs” said Henrik Christensen, president of KTZ Express Hong Kong.  [25/06/14]

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