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Kazakhstan may increase grain exports to Iran five times in 2015: President Nazarbayev

23 may 2015, 19:26

In 2015 Kazakhstan may increase its grain exports to Iran five times thanks to the Uzen-Bereket-Gorgan railway launched in December 2014, President Nursultan Nazarbayev said when speaking at the annual Astana Economic Forum May 22.

“This railway will be a gate to the Middle East. As early as this year Kazakhstan is capable of boosting its grain exports to Iran five times”, he said, adding that freights to be transported along the route in the current year are expected to reach 10 million tons.

Earlier the country’s Agriculture Ministry suggested doubling the grain exports towards Iran in 2015. As of April 1, 2015, 17 900 tons of grain were exported to the Middle East countries.

The 900-km-long railway link constructed through concerted efforts of the nations involved and launched early December 2014 runs from the Kazakhstan’s steppe across Turkmen Karakumy desert to the mountainous Gulistan province in the North of Iran. The project was bolstered by the Asian Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank.

The key stations along the route are Uzen in Kazakhstan, Kyzylgaya, Bereket and Etrek in Turkemenistan and Gorgan in Iran. The longest arm of almost 700 km runs across Turkmenistan.
The agreement on construction of the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway link was signed by the three leaders back in 2007, the actual construction works commenced in 2009.

The Kazakhstan’s arm of 120 km was the first to be completed in 2012; in 2013 it was stitched to the Turkmen section Kyzylgaya – Bereket. The two presidents were among those in attendance at the inauguration ceremony to celebrate the link-up of the two railway sections.

“With the railway link towards the Persian Gulf in place, Kazakhstan’s trade turnover in the current year has grown by 38%”, President Nazarbayev said while on his official visit to Turkmenistan December 2, 2014.

The new Uzen – Gorgan link is 600 km shorter than the railway route running from Kazakhstan’s Beinay to Iran’s Meshkhed across Turkmenistan’s Dashoguz, Turkmenabat, Tedzhen and Serakhs.

Earlier Tengrinews.kz reported, citing the country’s Agriculture Minister Assylzhan Mamytbekov, that for the 2013-2014 marketing year Kazakhstan had exported 8.7 million tons of grain, including grain equivalent of flour (6 million tons of grain and 1.9 million tons of flour), 22% up against the preceding marketing year.

Kazakhstan grain and flour have been mostly purchased by Central Asia and Transcaucasia countries, Iran, Afghanistan. Other CIS countries imported a total of 3.5 million tons of grain, with the other 2.5 million tons of grain being sent to countries outside the post-soviet space. The biggest importer of Kazakh grain for the period under review was Iran with its 1 255 000 tons of grain, followed by Uzbekistan with its 885 400 tons, Azerbaijan (815 600 tons), Russia (658 600 tons).

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