New rail route for LNG transportation opens between China and Kazakhstan

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ALMATY (TCA) — The first train carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Kazakhstan to China has arrived in the Chinese westernmost region of Xinjiang, Chinese media reported on July 31.

The new rail link is considered another step towards greater energy transport connections between China and Central Asian countries.

The new rail link for Liquefied Natural Gas is expected to help shore up LNG resources, which have been coming up short in China due to the growing demand and limited capacity of Chinese sea ports to transfer LNG onshore.

Wang Xinchun, director of the Alashankou Free Trade Zone’s economic development bureau in Xinjiang, says their port of entry is going to significantly increase energy transport options for China.

“There will be one train each week, which will transport 300 thousand tons a year. In the future, we expect to be able to increase the annual LNG imports to 800 thousand tons or more according to market demand and the needs of domestic companies,” he said.

The Kazakh-Chinese border crossing at Alashankou in Xinjiang has seen over 8.7 million tons of goods worth over $3.5 billion pass through it so far this year.

Alashankou is a border city in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. It is a port of entry by both railroad and highway from Kazakhstan. The port of entry on the Kazakh side is Dostyk. Alashankou is located 460 kilometers from Xinjiang’s main city Urumqi and 580 kilometers from Almaty in Kazakhstan. The volume of imports and exports passing through Alashankou accounts for some 90% of the total in Xinjiang.

Sergey Kwan

TCA