Transit paradise, or Truth is somewhere nearby
text: Dmitry Pertsev , exclusively for Gazeta.kz
Big automobile transport projects in Kazakhstan may remain just on the paper, unless procedure issues are decided and corruption is minimized.
The crisis and stagnation on the real estate market which followed by it, as well as problems in financial sector made Kazakhstani government to shift attention on the segments, which yet year and a half or two years ago caused scepsis.
Namely, now a new fashion for agricultural industry started, it is good that there should not be problems with grain and meat in our country.
The state allocates the money, and statesmen are competing to declare plans on construction of farms, greenhouses and entire cattle complexes in the shortest terms and pompously.
One more natural advantage of Kazakhstan is its geographic location. Rephrasing Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Kazakhstan occupies "underpinning" of Russia, which closed to it a direct access to Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. On the other hand, it borders with China in the area, which Beijing wants to develop - Xingjian-Uygur autonomous area.
Taking all signs, namely western regions of China after the crisis will come to the end, will give the second mighty impetus to the Chinese economy. Today here is industry, but there is no necessary for Europe quality of product. Considering the degree of mobility of Chinese people, the situation with the quality of goods will improve within the next 2-3 years.
Before the crisis the states, which are located along side the corridor Europe-Asia, received over USD1 trillion of transit money. Frankly speaking, the greater part of these countries is situated in the corner of the world, which is situated far from external Kazakhstani borders. For the first, it is Egypt, which makes money on the vessels, which come along the Suez Canal and countries of the Black Sea side. Many people, probably guessed, that the speech is of the marine route, which starts on the eastern seaside of China, comes via the Indian Ocean, and, having passing the Suez Canal, exits on the Black Sea ports.
On the background of this route railway, air and car corridors look quite pale: in general it takes 5% of all transportations between Europe and Asia.
Information: the Suez Canal is located to the west of the Sinai peninsular; its length is 163 km. The Canal is situated in Egypt between Port-Said on the Medditerenian Sea and Suez on the Red Sea. On the eastern side of the Canal opposite Port Said there is Port-Fuad, where the administration of the Suez Canal takes place. On the eastern side of the Canal opposite Suez there is a Port-Taufik. There is a third biggest city of Egypt and big industrial center located on the Canal - Ismailia.
The Canal allows water transport to pass two directions between Europe and Asia not bending around Africa. Before the Canal opening, the transportation was available via unloading of ships and land transportation between the Mediterranean and Read Seas.
The Canal consists of two parts - to the north and to the south from the Big Bitter Lake, uniting the Mediterranean with the Suez Stream on the Red Sea.
At present it is the main budget forming project of Egypt. According to some experts, the Canal provides the country with more money rather than the oil extraction and much more than infrastructure of tourism allows to receive at present which is rapidly developing.
What Kazakhstan can give?
As an alternative, Kazakhstan can offer its variants of freights transportation. And at the moment let's take into consideration such corridors, where the extension of trip over Kazakhstan is maximal.
TRACECA, which is supported and financed by the European Union, is a global railway line, which extends from bordering crossing Dostyk in the east, up to the Aktau port in the west. Kazakhstan could forget the problem that on Kazakhstani-Chinese border in the area of Dostyk-Alashankou it is necessary to change wheel pairs and to shift from 1435 track to 1520 track. But problems appear further on. And the double reloading of freights from railway to sea vessels is also of not any particular importance.
The biggest problem is crossing of many borders, on every of each the freight stands for hours. And as the procedures of freights registration and the order of its examination are quite different, the problems just deteriorate. Railway network of Kazakhstan is not so developed, and goods from China may be sent to the south, via Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan to Iranian sea ports, or to the north, via Russia, Byelorussia, Ukraine in Europe.
The Kazakhstani authorities didn't think a lot on the issue of priority choice. It is important for them to develop all directions, and, if possible, to create new ones. Namely such task is set for Ministry of transport and communication, namely, when we are talking of railway link Khorgos-Zhetygen. Recently the sides have agreed on the place of junction. This link should be one more railway crossing between Kazakhstan and China.
And the interest of Chinese people to the railway is quite big. At the end of last year they put into operation the Center of the border trade in Khorgos: they constructed all infrastructure with warehouses, logistic centers, housing and even a new custom station as a Chinese pagoda. According to the representative of the Kazakhstan Car Transport Organization who made speech at the recent international car transport, last year 4 million ton of freight was transported as a transit via Kazakhstan from China, out of them 3 million of ton by railway transport. It testifies interest of the Chinese towards railway transportations.
Now let's speak of another mega corridor, which is Western Europe - Western China. In total on behalf of the international financial institutes it was attracted USD3,5 billion. The remaining part (according to the Ministry of Transportation of Kazakhstan, the project is estimated at nearly USD7 billion) will allocate the republican budget and private investors, who will be involved in the project on the scheme of the state-private partnership. The Kazakhstani government has chosen the most optimal way: which crosses the territory of Kazakhstan and Russia. And taking into consideration the level of mutual relations of the states, it is assumed, that many problems will be resolved positively.
Although one significant factor should not be ignored. It's interest of China. Alarming signal may be even the fact that, Chinese representatives almost ignored the international transport conference in Almaty. The whole China was represented by an expert from the Asian Development Bank. On the other hand, the speech of the representative of the Kazakhstani car transport organization should be completed - the remaining 1 million ton of freight was transported by vehicles. It means that Chinese people the main attention pay to railway transportations.
But it is not all …
Delays on roads
In order to understand the forthcoming problems it is necessary to analyze existing already car tranposrt corridors. Out of three routes - Northern, Southern and Central - two first ones transit via territory of Kazakhstan.
Information: The first link of the Northern route starts in Khorgos, and come though Almaty, Taraz, Balhash, Astana, Petropavlovsk, Chelyabinsk, Kazan and Moscow.
The second link also starts in Khorgos, and come through Almaty, Taraz, Tashkent, Bukhara, Nukus, Atyrau, Astrakhan, Volgograd, Moscow. The total extension of the route is about 6,5 thousand km.
The Southern route starts in Almaty and comes through Taraz, Tashkent, Bukhara, Serakhs, Meshhed, Tehran, Tebriz, Erzurum and Istanbul. The total length of the route is about 4 thousand km.
Car corridor Western Europe - Western China starts in Chinese Khorgos, and will come through Almaty, Taraz, Shymkent, Kzylorda, Orenburg and Moscow. The total length is 8,4 thousand km, including the part from Khorgos up to the eastern-Chinese port Lyngungan.
Stops on the borders, according to the project Nelti of International union of car transport (IRU), became a significant hindrance on the way of increase of competitiveness of the Northern route.
At Kyrgyz-Kazakhstani border drivers loss from 1 up to12, Kyrgyz -Uzbek border - from 10 to 96, Uzbek-Tajik border - from 3 to 41, Uzbek- Kazakhstani border - from 4 up to 48, Kazakhstani-Russian - from 4 up to 60, Byelorussia-Pole border - from 4 up to 16, Byelorussia-Lithuanian border - from 5 up to 7 HOURS.
Usually the average time of expectation at the major point of crossing of Kazkahstani-Russian border does not exceed 5-6 hours. But at the most actively used by the Northern route border car pointy of passing Petukhovo-Zhana Zhol the time of expectation varies from 4 up to 60 hours, in average 21 hours.
At the Southern route drivers wait at Kyrgyz-Uzbek border from 1 up to 96, Uzbek-Tajik - from 3 up to 41, Turkmen-Uzbek border - from 3 up to 14, Iranian-Turkmen border - from 2 up to 122, Iranian-Turkish border - from 14 up to 32 hours.
And about one day people wait at every border between Iran and Turkey, Iran and Turkmenistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It leads to increase of the total journey time by 20%.
Thus, postpones on the borders increase the cost of the goods transported via borders and redcue competitiveness of car transportation companies.
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09.01.2013 2012 marked by multiple events in Kazakhstan