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ITE Transport and Logistics

Transport & logistics in Kazakhstan: sector focus

Occupying an area of 2,724,900 square km, comparable with Continental Europe in size, Kazakhstan is world’s 9th largest country.
Situated east of the Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan connects continents, with several international transport corridors crossing its territory. Transport and logistics subsequently is a key economic area for the nation. Currently, the transport sector accounts for 8% of Kazakhstan’s total GDP and employs around 7% of the working population. 

So far, freight volumes across the nation are picking up. Total freight luggage transported in 2016 by all modes of transport including inland waterways and pipeline freight reached 3.72 billion tons. Compared with levels from just over a decade ago, the sector has shown massive growth. In 2007, transportation of freight cargoes only reached 2.12 billion tons for example.

Total freight turnover in 2016 was 514.7 billion tons-to-kilometres - up 0.9% year-on-year from the 512.1 billion t-km seen in 2015.

So now you know the overview, let’s take a look at how individual sectors are currently performing in Kazakhstan.

Rail transport: king of Kazakhstan’s transport & logistics sector

Volume of railway freight turnover is highest among all transport modes, accounting for 46% of total freight turnover with 237 billion t-km. This is a very slight increase compared to last year’s value of 235.8 t-km. 

According to Freight Transport Report carried out by BMI Research in 2015, rail freight has the most potential for growth and development among other transport modes, likely due to plans in place to boost China-Europe transport under the One Belt One Road programme.

Kazakhstan benefits massively from the China-Europe transport links due to its strategic location. Volume of the China-Europe rail freight is forecast to grow further this year due to improved services and connectivity in Kazakhstan as KTZ Express (KTZE) pledged $36.3 billion worth of investment over the next five years. China and Kazakhstan are planning to increase rail freight transport up to 11.5 million tons this year, up from 8 million tons from last year. 


Kazakhstan’s road transport industry shows growth

Road transportation and trucking accounts takes the second largest market share in Kazakhstan. Freight turnover is up to 160 billion t-km in 2016; a slight rise against 2015’s 159.4 billion t-km ratio. 

Road-based transportation could expand rapidly in the coming years. In 2014, the nation kicked off a country-wide highway construction regime, investing over $9 billion towards the building of thousands of kilometres of roads. By 2019, as much as 37,000 km of roads should be put into place – almost literally paving the way for smoother, faster road based transport in Kazakhstan.


Air freight in decline

Plane-based cargoes are showing signs of a serious slump in Kazakhstan at present. Air freight levels dropped 45.8%  in 2016 against 2010’s ton-to-kilometre rating of 93.8 billion t-km. Last year, air cargoes registered a freight turnover of 43 billion t-km.

Kazakhstani aviation authorities have subsequently proposed a new venture to improve traffic volumes. And, as is a running them throughout the country, it is intended to snag more cargoes from China.

Dubbed “Rail-Air”, it is a multi-modal solution combining cargo flights with rail freight. Expected to launch later in 2017, this latest initiative aims at connecting Kazakhstan to China, Europe, Iran, Russia and Turkey, as an alternative to sea-air supply chains from Southeast Asia from Europe via Dubai.


Maritime transport: affected by Kazakhstan’s landlocked status

Maritime transport is not as popular as the other three modes of freight due to Kazakhstan’s situation as a land-locked country, making up 0.5% of total turnover. 

Even so, Kazakhstan has a presence in the captive Caspian market. 

Kazakhstan really only has one major seaport: Aktau. As it is Kazakhstan’s singular sea freight facility, it regularly stretches the limits of its 12 million ton capacity. Understandably, the government is planning to expand Aktau Port to increase cargo traffic up to 18 million tons of freight annually by 2020, mainly in order to harbour more oil and bulk liquid cargoes, heralded by the global rise in oil prices.

Elsewhere up the Caspian Coast, construction of the Kuryk ferry terminal, capable of handling 4 million tons of cargo a year, is underway. Once built, it is expected Kuryk will handle up to 35% of Kazakhstan’s total maritime trade.


Kazakhstan invests in transport infrastructure

Performance is rising in some key sectors, and the Kazakhstani government is very keen to keep this trend rolling. That means massive investment in infrastructure and development of important transportation links and logistics sectors.

A finalised investment plan, costing $27 billion to achieve this. As mentioned above, Kazakhstan is building new ports, investing in rail connectivity and building or upgrading roads across the country. 

With billions worth of investment poured into improving infrastructure, the time is right to start exploring the Kazakhstan transport and logistics sector. To do this, TransKazakhstan is your first stop.

As Kazakhstan’s leading transport and logistics, TransKazakhstan is an international platform that demonstrates the full range of industry solutions, from transportation and forwarding services to software and equipment for cargo handling - bringing together industry professionals and key figures for you to network with. 

This year’s TransKazakhstan takes place between 1-3 November at the Korme Exhibition Centre in Astana. If you would like more information on the show, or to book your place, contact us today.


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