For 11 months of 2023 transportation through seaports amounted to 6.5 million tons — Karabayev

For 11 months of the current year Kazakhstani ports served 25% more ship calls than last year. Such data at the Government session under the chairmanship of Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Alikhan Smailov was announced by the Minister of Transport Marat Karabayev. However, the dynamically growing intensity of navigation and shoaling of the Caspian Sea adequately require accelerated creation of navigation safety system. 

According to him, today the total throughput capacity of Aktau and Kuryk seaports is 21 million tons. The seaports have the capacity to transship oil, grain, general cargoes and provide uninterrupted ferrying of cargoes in railcars and motor vehicles.

The merchant fleet consists of 20 vessels, including:

  • 2 tankers with a cargo capacity of 115 thousand tons, which carry out oil transportation in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea;
  • 11 tankers operating in the Caspian Sea, 2 of which were acquired this year by a joint company established by JSC NC KazMunayGas and Abu Dhabi Ports;
  • 4 dry bulk carriers and 3 container ships.

For 11 months of the current year, the volume of transportation through sea ports amounted to 6.5 million tons, which is 10% more than last year's figure. Export transportation of Kazakhstani cargoes towards European countries is predominant.

"Today the main task is to transform Kazakhstan into an international transit country within the development of the Trans-Caspian international transport route. Compared to last year, the volume of transportation along this corridor has increased 2 times and amounted to 2.5 million tons. Including the export of Kazakhstani products through TMTM increased 3 times. Along with exports, import cargo traffic is also growing. This, in turn, shows the interest of European companies in the TMTM route. At the same time, the volumes of transit cargo transportation in the east-west direction decreased. The main reason is the reduction of the freight rate on the southern sea route," the Minister of Transport said.

Negotiations are currently underway with authorized bodies and companies of neighboring states to attract exports to the TMTM route, including the provision of state support measures for these transportations.   

Thus, it is noted that the Head of State has set a task to increase the volume of transportation on the Trans-Caspian international transport route 5 times. To this end, a corresponding road map has been signed with Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. Within the framework of the Road Map implementation, each country takes measures on synchronous development of its own transport infrastructure.   

Together with Kazakh exporters and major international transport and logistics companies, such as Maersk, Cosco Shipping, PSA, the cargo base for the next 3-5 years is being analyzed, potentially focused on the TMTM route.

As a result, the ministry will be able to see a complete picture of the route's utilization for the next 5 years.

Taking into account the dynamic growth of transportation volumes, the industry is facing the following 6 main tasks, they are as follows:

  1. dredging of seaport waters;
  2. development of terminal facilities and creation of bonded zones on their basis;
  3. development of railroad infrastructure approaching ports;
  4. digitalization of transport corridors;
  5. development of the merchant fleet;
  6. ensuring navigational safety.

Last week bathymetric surveys were started in the water area of Kuryk port. Dredging works in the port will be completed by July next year. Specialized dredging equipment of a large European company "Jan de Nul" has been attracted for the work. In 2024, similar works will be carried out in the port of Aktau.

"In addition, there are also private terminals on the Caspian coast, such as ErSai, Sarzha, Bautino. In conditions of sea level decline, these facilities also need dredging. Taking into account that they are privately owned, there are no budget funds for these works. Taking into account the need to develop port infrastructure, attracting investment for these purposes, the possibility of providing state support measures is considered," Marat Karabayev voiced the proposal.  

In addition, as the Minister of Transport notes, dredging solves not only the problem associated with the decline in the level of the Caspian Sea, but also creates conditions for further expansion of terminal capacity. In particular, new territories will be created at the expense of dredged soil, according to preliminary calculations their area will amount to 171 hectares. For the development of terminal capacities on these sites work with potential investors such as Abu Dhabi Ports, Rhenus and Shandong port is underway. 

The construction of container hub in the port of Aktau will start next year. For realization of the project with Lianyungang port the corresponding agreement is signed. Feasibility study of the project will be ready in April 2024. Construction of grain terminals was completed in the port of Kuryk this year. Terminals for general cargo and transshipment of "green hydrogen" will also be built in the port. The total volume of investments for the development of terminals of Kuryk port will amount to more than $200 mln. 

As part of the development of adjacent railway infrastructure to seaports, it is planned to construct 404 km of second tracks on the Beineu - Mangystau, Zharyk - Sekseul and Shalkar - Kuryk railway sections. 5 stations will be modernized and autoblocking will be introduced on the "Shalkar - Beineu" section. These measures are included in the approved plan for modernization of the main railway network until 2030.

Additional tracks to terminals of Aktau port with the relevant station infrastructure will also be built.

"In particular, for the digitalization of the TMTM route, the Singaporean company PSA has developed a digital platform "Digital Trade Corridor". This platform is integrated with the information system of Xi'an Dry Port. Xi'an dry port is a major Chinese transport and logistics center and through it passes about 30% of containers in the direction of Europe," Karabayev said.

In addition, on the border with China in the pilot mode introduced a customs platform "Tez Customs" to automate the process of issuing transit declarations. Now 12 PSA employees are at Altynkol station monitoring the work of the platform. 

In parallel, the Digital Trade Corridor digital platform is being integrated with the information systems of the Port of Baku, Azerbaijan Railways and transport organizations in Georgia. By the end of March, the digital platform will be put into commercial operation. This will make it possible to digitize the entire process of cargo movement from China to Europe.

In order to digitalize the North-South corridor, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy signed a strategic partnership agreement with Abu Dhabi Ports on December 2. One of the areas of cooperation is the automation of technological processes of checkpoints in accordance with the standards of the International Maritime Organization. The work on transition to round-the-clock operation of sea checkpoints is also being carried out jointly with the customs authorities. 

At the first stage of the merchant fleet development there is a need to build 10 new vessels, including 3 tankers, 3 dry cargo ships and 4 universal ferries.

"Prior to the establishment of a Kazakhstani shipyard, the issue of placing an order for the construction of a vessel at one of the Caspian shipyards is being considered. Kazmortransflot JSC is currently designing new ship models. The possibility of financing shipbuilding production through the Industry Development Fund is being considered as state support. Creation of a domestic shipbuilding plant in Kazakhstan is planned on the basis of existing production facilities," the Minister of Transport emphasized.

In particular, the possibility of using the capacities of the company "ErSai", which has appropriate production of metal structures, is considered. YDA", "Asfat" and "ADP" companies show potential interest in the realization of the "Shipyard" project. The capacity of the shipyard will be met by the need for merchant and government vessels. Also, more than 150 vessels require various types of repairs, which can be carried out at the Kazakhstani shipyard.

The next important issue is ensuring safety of navigation. For 11 months of the current year Kazakhstani ports served 25% more ship calls than last year. Dynamically growing intensity of navigation and shoaling of the Caspian Sea adequately requires accelerated creation of navigation safety system.

In particular, by the end of March 2024 the ship traffic control system in the port of Kuryk will be put into commercial operation. In the port of Aktau SUDS is planned to be installed by the end of 2025.

Later, after the integration of all navigation systems into a single network, full control in digital mode will be provided for the movement of vessels throughout the entire Kazakhstan sector of the Caspian Sea.

In the sphere of river transport - the total length of navigable waterways is 2,104 km. Shipping is carried out in the Irtysh, Ural-Caspian and Ili-Balkhash basins. There are more than 19,600 vessels in Kazakhstan, including 779 vessels of the transportation fleet. There are also 3 river ports located in the cities of Atyrau, Pavlodar and Ust-Kamenogorsk.

"In the current navigation 1.6 million tons were transported by river transport, of which more than 90 % of cargo transportation falls on the Irtysh basin. It should be noted that today the potential of river transport is not fully used. In turn, due to the development of river transport, it is planned to increase the volume of transportation up to 4.6 million tons by 2027. In this case, ensuring the safety of navigation is one of the important tasks necessary for the development of the industry," Marat Karabayev said.

For these purposes "Kazakhstan Su Zholdary" annually carries out works on dredging and dredging cleaning of a ship passage, and also putting of signs of navigational situation. This year dredging works in the volume of 2.5 million m3 were carried out. Also, up to 5 thousand navigation signs were put up and 6 thousand tons of dredging works were carried out. 

In order to strengthen the safety measures taken, it is required to:

  • renew the technical fleet; 
  • replace metal structures of gates of Ust-Kamenogorsk, Bukhtarma and Shulbinsk shipping locks, which are 87% worn out; 
  • to automate the whole process of track works to ensure safety of navigation in order to tighten control over spending of budgetary funds;
  • grant the right to "Kazakhstan Su Zholdary" to use and sell river sand extracted during dredging works. 

In particular, the sale of excavated soil to enterprises engaged in the construction of roads and other facilities will provide an opportunity to obtain additional profit for "Kazakhstan Su Zholdary". In turn, this will reduce budget expenditures on the maintenance of the enterprise. 

One of the directions of river navigation development is the restoration of export transportation through the Ural-Caspian channel. Next year dredging works on the shipping canal will be started. Subsequently, to maintain the navigable parameters of the canal, the company will purchase its own sea-class dredger.

The Atyrau river port will also be modernized. This route is planned to be included in the TMTM. In general, realization of this project will allow to expand export opportunities of such companies as KPI and TCO. The potential volume of transportation will be about 1 million tons. 

Development of transit opportunities of the transboundary Irtysh River will allow connecting Russia and China by new transport communication. For the development of this route it will be envisaged to build a new navigable lock near Semey city. Also, a port will be built near the village of Tugyl, a railroad will be built to the border with China on the section Tugyl - Maikapchagai with a length of 99 km. The expected volume of transportation will be 2-2.5 million tons.

In general, according to the Minister, today there are all prerequisites for involving water transport in the general transport system, and the measures will allow to fully realize the potential of this industry.

#Government session #Infrastructural development #TITR #Transport

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