• KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 5

Kazakhstan Reports Rise in Rail Cargo

Kazakhstan’s national railway company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) reports that from January-May 2024 it transported 102.4 million tons of cargo. Over 34.2 million tons of this cargo were exported by rail. During the first five months of the year, rail transportation of coal amounted to 40.6 million tons, including 30.3 million tons within the country. Over the same period, over 3.7 million tons of grain were transported by rail. Exports of oil by rail increased by 9.5% (2.3 million tons), ferrous metals by 5% (1.4 million tons), chemical fertilizers by 12% (over 550,000 tons), iron ore and manganese by 8.4% (4.7 million tons), and construction materials by 9% (142,000 tons). KTZ also reported that the Caspian port of Aktau handled over 5,100 shipping containers in May 2024, setting its own record for the monthly container handling volume. Over the five months of this year, 15,800 containers were handled, double the volume in the same period in 2023. “Since the beginning of the year, there has been a high growth in container traffic through the port of Aktau,” said the seaport’s chief dispatcher Vadim Novikov. “Container transit from China along the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR) accounted for the lion's share of the traffic, which has grown 10-fold due to the launch of the Kazakh-Chinese terminal in Xi'an.”    

Kazakhstan Works with Armenia and Azerbaijan for South Caucasus Peace

By Robert M. Cutler On May 10–11, Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev hosted peace talks between the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers. These constructive negotiations were strictly bilateral, with Kazakhstan absent from the room and only providing the venue for the meeting. The event illustrates the dedication by Tokayev and his foreign policy to regional stability and mediation. Kazakhstan has done this sort of thing in the past; it hosted Russia–Turkey–Iran talks over Syria until last year. It was also mentioned as a place for bilateral Russia–Ukraine negotiations, although that idea never materialized.   Armenia's Future is in the South Caucasus and Asia Tokayev had offered to provide the venue during his first official visit to Armenia, which took place on April 15 this year. His trip to Armenia may in retrospect be seen as a turning point. Former President Nursultan Nazarbayev had been forced to cancel a visit in 2016, following protests in Yerevan against Astana's support of Baku in the Karabakh conflict. Armenia’s participation in the new peace efforts, now under way for a couple of years, marks a significant shift after decades of rejecting such cooperation. It offers the prospect of renewed regional relations. Under Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Armenia has lately been trying to shift its foreign policy, reaching out to Western countries such as France and the U.S. in order to decrease its long-standing dependence on (some would say, vassalage to) Russia. But Armenia is a state in the South Caucasus, not in Europe or America. For this reason, the state’s objective interests (as opposed to those of the far-flung diaspora) are geopolitically compatible with those of Azerbaijan and Turkey, and also of Kazakhstan more distantly. Astana’s ties with Baku and Ankara, and Azerbaijan’s strengthening of its own ties with Central Asia, reflect strategic manoeuvring in the region. These partnerships enhance Kazakhstan's and Turkey's roles in promoting stability and development in the South Caucasus. They consequently offer Armenia a new path to prosperity. Peace with Azerbaijan would lead to the lifting of the Turkish embargo on Armenia and open the possibility of Armenia's integration into the Trans-Caspian International Trade Route (TITR, "Middle Corridor"). Such an opening would further widen Armenia's diplomatic vistas and decrease its dependence on Russia. Turning to Europe and the U.S. can offer some advantages, but Armenia must be cautious of the influence of a bellicosely irredentist Armenian diaspora, whose interests are not first and foremost the well-being of Armenians living in Armenia. Prioritizing regional integration and cooperation with its South Caucasus neighbours and other TITR participants will enable Armenia proper to build a more stable and prosperous future.   Infrastructure and Connectivity Initiatives With the assistance of the international financial institutions, the European Union and Central Asia are developing the TITR as a critical trade corridor that will also contribute significantly to the prosperity and stability of the countries lying along its route. Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have long been key players in the promotion and realization of this plan. The Middle Corridor,...

The Middle Corridor is Being Funded Faster than Expected

By Robert M. Cutler   According to Samuel Doveri Vesterbye, director of the independent think-tank, European Neighbourhood Council (ENC), a small group of high-ranking cabinet officials, ambassadors and other diplomats met in a closed-door round-table on May 15, representing the EU, Türkiye and countries in the South Caucasus and Central Asia. The meeting, organized by Turkish organizations International Transporters Association (UND) and the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD), focused on the synergy between the EU's Global Gateway initiative and the projects of the Trans-Caspian International Trade Route (TITR). The fact of the meeting taking place has been confirmed by Türkiye’s Permanent Delegate to the EU. Doveri Vesterbye writes that the meeting "consisted of less than 30 individuals mostly linked to diplomacy, transport, logistics, business, critical infrastructure security, policy-making and supply chains" and "brought together four different Directorate Generals (DGs) and more than 10 nationalities of Director-and-Ambassador level." Significantly, also according to Doveri Vesterbye, the development of high-level coordination committees is under way. The meeting’s assessment that the TITR is being funded faster than expected is an extremely positive development. Dr. S. Frederick Starr, a well-known American expert and a Distinguished Fellow for Eurasia at the American Foreign Policy Council, told The Times of Central Asia that "the activation and coordination of both European and Turkish institutions is essential not only for the financing and construction of this mega-project, but also for its successful management thereafter." This is a very stabilizing development for international commerce. As other corridors are increasingly volatile, it would help to insulate trade between China and Europe from supply-chain shocks. It will also benefit the participating states themselves. Starr explained that the continuing European and Turkish involvement in building out the TITR "will help the transit states of Central Asia and the [South] Caucasus to balance their relations with China and Europe and will thereby undergird their sovereignties. Such balance creates what is literally a 'win-win-win' situation." According to a mid-2023 report, prepared jointly by the EBRD and the EU Commission, an estimated €18.5 billion is required in infrastructure investments in order to improve Central Asia's transport connectivity. Potential growth in transit container traffic by 2040 could be over 40-fold, with significant spill-over effects on education, tech hubs, business and middle-class development. At the same time, the TITR has been reconceptualized as a driver of regional trade and economic growth along the entire Europe–Türkiye–South Caucasus–Central Asia trajectory, with special attention given to the latter two regions. The EU Commission and the EBRD have already funded €10.5 billion in Central Asia via loans and grant investments promised only a few months ago, in January this year, at the Global Gateway Investment Forum in Brussels. This pace suggests significant commitment by such large bureaucratic organizations, and it augurs well for the unlocking of funds from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for investment in Turkey. Doveri Vesterbye writes that the heads of EU member-state missions in Brussels (COREPER) will work to synchronize EIB investments, with special attention on reforming...

Kazakhstan Increases Cargo Transshipment through Caspian Seaports along TITR

As announced by the Kazakh Transport Ministry, the volume of cargo shipped through Kazakhstan’s seaports of Aktau and Kuryk along the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR) increased by 15% during the first quarter of this year. Cargo transshipment by trucks through the port of Kuryk rose by 34% and by rail containers through the port of Aktau by 27%. The transit of rail containers from China to EU countries through Kazakhstan grew 3.4-fold. To further increase the potential of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, the Ministry of Transport will begin dredging the port of Kuryk from mid-summer to provide sufficient depth for ships to enter the harbor.    

The New Silk Road

In light of the current geopolitical situation in the world, many countries are puzzled by the search for new alternative transport routes. One of these is the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR), which runs through China, Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and further to Turkey and European countries. New transport corridors through which goods and raw materials can be exported by all modes of transport are a vital task for many countries, today. Such routes must first of all be safe, beneficial to all partners, and economically feasible. The TITR, or the “Middle Corridor”, as it is also called, falls into these criteria. It was conceived more than ten years ago and began operating in 2017. In recent years, this route has been experiencing a new round of development, and this is not surprising since it connects East and West whilst bypassing Russia. Today, this is a flagship cooperation project for many states. This transport artery, connecting China, Central Asia and Europe, can become a continental bridge of the Belt and Road, halving the time of cargo transportation and significantly reducing transport costs. The route encompasses 11,000 km of rail, and includes ten seaports. It originates in China at the port of Lianyungang, passing through Xi'an to Urumqi, through Kazakhstan - from the dry ports of Khorgos and Dostyk - to the ports of Aktau and Kuryk, the Azerbaijan (port of Alyat), Georgia (Tbilisi), and then through the Black Sea it continues onto Europe. It is noteworthy that this route is multimodal, that is, rail, sea and road transport can be used. The current capacity of the Trans-Caspian international transport route is 6 million tons per year. By 2025, it is planned to reach a level of 10 million tons per year. So, the potential is great. Assessing all possibilities, interested states intend to invest financial resources in the further development of this corridor and the expansion of its port and railway infrastructure, which will have a positive impact on the quality of services provided and reduce transportation times. Each side – China, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan – has its own benefit, and these countries have something to offer each other in much larger volumes than the current supplies. China intends to develop its western provinces, providing them with access to regional markets. Azerbaijan sees an opportunity to strengthen its transit role and become the largest transport hub. Türkiye, in turn, continues to extend its influence in Azerbaijan and Central Asia. As for Kazakhstan, there are fears that attacks by the Ukrainian Army on Russian oil refineries could lead to a blockage of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), which supplies Kazakh oil to international markets. In this regard, a huge amount of work is being done to diversify, and the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route comes in handy here. The Kazakh company, KazMunaiGas has already purchased tankers, and there are agreements with Azerbaijan on access to the Baku-Supsa and Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipelines, through which Kazakhstan can transport about 2 million tons...

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