Exclusive: China, Kazakhstan to Complete Feasibility Study for New Rail Line on the Border as BRI Boosts Infrastructure Development: Senior Kazakh Official

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The main direction of Kazakhstan’s integration cooperation within the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the development of transport and transit infrastructure, Marat Karimzhanovich Karabayev, Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development of Kazakhstan, told the Global Times in an exclusive written interview over the weekend.

During his recent intensive business trip to China, with the clear goal of promoting bilateral cooperation and attract investments, Karabayev has given high recognition to Kazakhstan’s fruitful cooperation under the joint construction of the BRI, and the transportation sector is an important part of it, with completed facilities producing positive outcomes and new ones to look forward to.

“Over the past decade, Kazakhstan has made significant efforts on developing the transportation component of the national economy… Thanks to the implementation of the BRI, container transportation volumes along the East-West direction through Kazakhstan have noticeably increased in recent years,” the minister said when talking about the cooperation between China-proposed BRI and the Kazakh “Bright Path” initiative.

The approved transport and logistics development concept of Kazakhstan until 2030 includes the alignment of transport infrastructure development with the economic belt of the Silk Road, which will establish new transport and trade routes connecting the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, Karabayev said.

In November 2022, the construction project for the second track on the Dostyk-Moiynty railway section, with a length of 836 kilometers, was launched. Additionally, by 2026, projects for the construction of railway lines bypassing the Almaty station, Bakhty-Ayagoz, and Darbaza-Maktaaral will be implemented, he said.

All these have made a significant contribution to ensuring full and comprehensive participation in the Silk Road Economic Belt, the minister said.

Moreover, Karabayev also applauded a railway that has been built in Kazakhstan, through Alashankou in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, connecting Kazakhstan to Europe, and a new railway branch that connects the southern part of Kazakhstan with Europe, for its contribution to boosting trade in the region and beyond.

China and Kazakhstan have been ramping up the joint cooperation for building new transport facilities based on what has already been achieved. 

In a joint statement published in May, it was mentioned that “both sides have agreed to develop transportation cooperation to stabilize production and supply chains, actively explore the possibility of a third cross-border railway, and consider the possibility of creating additional railway ports.”

Speaking about the latest follow-up of the statement, Karabayev told the Global Times that “in July, we plan to complete the feasibility study for the construction of the 270-kilometer-long railway branch line from Bakhty to Ayagoz.”

Next, together with the Chinese side, Kazakhstan will determine the points of railway connection at the Kazakhstan-China border, he said.

Kazakhstan and China are currently constructing a third railway line, and its construction is expected to complete by 2025.

The construction of the Bakhty-Ayagoz railway line, along with the opening of the third border crossing, will help alleviate the congestion at the border railway stations of Dostyk and Altynkol, and also increase the throughput capacity between Kazakhstan and China by an additional 20 million tons, Karabayev said.

Source : Global Times