Khorgos East Gate

E-queue system at China-Kazakhstan borders may cut transport costs in half


A new electronic queue system will be applied at Kazakhstan’s Nur-Zholy border point to ensure transparency in cross-border transport and curb customs corruption. “In this way, the cost of cargo transportation services at the China-Kazakhstan border will be reduced in half”, said Suahasil Nazara, deputy minister of Finance of Kazakhstan.

The pilot project for this electronic queuing system began on 10 March 2022 and is currently in the data migration stage before replacing the old system. In a statement, the Kazakh National Revenue Committee said that this would minimise the incidence of corruption, as all customs procedures will be handled electronically.

Fighting customs corruption

At the beginning of this year, as the riots in Kazakhstan subsided and the country was recovering, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered an overhaul of the country’s customs services, particularly those on the border with China. There are numerous cases of trains crossing the border, evading checks and not paying customs duties at the border customs, he said.

“There are people in high positions of power who authorise operators to act unscrupulously at border customs”, explained the Kazakh president back then. Reports show that the country has now lost billions of tenge (Kazakhstani currency) in tax revenues due to the chaotic administration.

Investigation and arrests

As a result of a thorough investigation into the customs department, on 28 February, the Kazakhstan Anti-Corruption Bureau reported that several customs officials working at the Nur-Zholy border crossing had been arrested on charges of accepting bribes to help smuggled goods escape detection.

The overhaul of customs can replenish the treasury and provide financial support for a series of post-riot reform measures. And this new electronic queue system could also improve the transparency of customs inspections, thereby reducing delays and lowering transport costs.

This article was originally published in our sister publication

Author: Steven Don

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