10 ноября 2014 12:30

Kazakhstan should fulfill three conditions to become a transit hub: expert



Kazakhstan needs to meet three conditions to become the largest business transit hub in Central Asia. This view was expressed by the Secretary of Intergovernmental Commission of TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia) Marat Saduov, Tengrinews reports.

Kazakhstan needs to meet three conditions to become the largest business transit hub in Central Asia. This view was expressed by the Secretary of Intergovernmental Commission of TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia) Marat Saduov, Tengrinews reports.

“We can be a hub. Moreover, we can create a hub in Kazakhstan not only for Central Asia, but also for the entire region in case of emergencies. We can do that if we ensure three things: fast passage of goods, simplified customs procedures and safety of the goods,” Marat Saduov said at the round table discussion Kazakhstan-2050: New continental bridges between East and West in Astana.

According to the expert, simplification of the customs procedures for carriage of goods has long been on Kazakhstan’s agenda. “Our custom officials held several meetings within the frameworks of the Silk Wind project (a project that aims to build a high-speed multipurpose transportation system for freight shipments between the European countires, the Caucasus, China, Kazakhstan, other Caspian states and Turkey). Within the frameworks of TRACECA and the Turkic Council, we regularly hold meetings, where we discuss the necessity to move to the system of simplified customs procedures for certain types of cargoes that do not pose any threat and are not objects of claims from customs authorities. These cargoes should be held at stations and customs checkpoints only as much time as needed to check the train. The freights should be held not a minute longer, because customs workers should know in advance what kind of cargo is there and be abe to say right away 'No, I do not like that good in a certain container, let's take it off', and it should not affect the movement of the trains," he said.

Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev initiated the creation of the largest business transit hub of the Central Asian region in Kazakhstan that would link Europe and Asia and would restore Kazakhstan's historical role of a transit hub located at the crossroads between Europe and Asia.

During the round table that was organized by the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies, experts of leading Kazakh and foreign think tanks, representatives of interested state bodies and international organizations exchanged their views on the implementation of the project.

“Main goals of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s strategy is to turn Kazakhstan and the entire Central Asian region into the largest Eurasian transport and transit hub, build and connect all the major continental transport corridors. (…) While various politicians and experts debate, discuss and propose different options, the Kazakh leader literally began to revive the Great Silk Road. Central Asia will finally be able to escape the so-called continental isolation,” Kazakh political scientist, head of the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies Yerlan Karin said.

He noted that the next State-of-the-Nation address of Kazakhstan’s President to the people of Kazakhstan will be devoted to the development of the country’s transport potential. “The issue of transit transport potential is on Central Asia’s agenda. Kazakhstan's simultaneous successful implementation of several international projects facilitated this issue. Firstly, it is the commissioning of Beineu-Zhezkazgan railroad (shortest railway route that links Central Kazakhstan with Aktau port and further with Turkmenistan and the Gulf countries) and Arkalyk-Schubarkul railways (that link central Kazakhstan with Russia and further with Western European countries) that link Kazakhstan’s important western and eastern regions together first time ever. According to the experts, implementation of Zhezkazgan-Beineu project reduces the distance of Dostyk-Aktau (Kazakhstan's section of TRACECA) route by more than 700 km and can increase the flow of goods by 40 percent," he added.

Kazakhstan has a high transit and transport potential for a variety of reasons. They include its favorable geographical location between Europe and Asia, its access to the markets of the Customs Union, favorable investment climate, stable growth of traffic flow and political and economic stability.

However, there are some barriers as well. The so called physical barriers are bad roads, outdated railway fleet, low capacity of border passes and logistics centers. Human barriers include delays at border crossing and duties collected by authorities. Therefore, developing the transport infrastructure and establishing transport corridors will allow escaping these barriers by making Kazakhstan transportation sector more competitive and bringing its technical level in line with international standards.

Reporting by Altynai Zhumzhumina, writing by Assel Satubaldina

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