Two new railway links have been launched in Kazakhstan with the aim of improving freight flows from the northern part of the country to the southern part, besides ensuring the creation of 3,500 jobs and promoting industrial development.
Launched by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the two new railway links - one between Zhezkazgan and Beineu, and the other between Arkalyk and Shubarkol - stretch over a distance of 1,200 kilometers.
The Zhezkazgan-Beineu line is a shortcut from Central Kazakhstan to the Caspian Port of Aktau, and moves further on to Kazakhstan's border with Turkmenistan and countries of the Persian Gulf. The Arkalyk-Shubarkol line links Central Kazakhstan to Russia and further on to Western Europe.
"The launch of the new links completes a whole main railway network. The new railway links shorten the routes for freight flows moving from North to South and from West to East. The new railway links will give an impetus to development of Central and West Kazakhstan, contributing to industrial development of the country's regions and creating a total of 3,500 jobs," Askar Mamin, president of the company, told President Nazarbayev.
He further stated that the new links raise the transit potential of trans-Kazakhstan transport corridors running from China towards Russia and Europe.
President Nazarbayev said that the new railway links will benefit Karaganda, Mangistau, Aktyubinsk, Kyzylorda and Kostanai oblasts and will have a positive impact on development of Zhezkazgan town.
From the perspective of Kazakh-India bilateral trade ties, the inauguration of these two new railway links may resolve issues related to direct connectivity. It is expected that truck distance and transportation costs will reduce considerably.
Today, Kazakhstan accounts for more than half of India's trade with the Central Asian countries. Bilateral trade between India and Kazakhstan increased from $120 million in 2005 to almost $500 million in 2012.
In 2013, this figure reached $676.9 million. However, both sides agree it is still a modest figure and lack of direct land connectivity between the countries hampers greater economic engagement.