Kazakhstan Railways to work together with Shandong Port on New Silk Road
The Kazakh railway company KTZ and the new rising star on the BRI Shandong Port will work together in developing multimodal transport services and electronic services on the New Silk Road. In doing so, it will not only consider the traditional route through Russia but also the Middle corridor via the Black Sea Caspian Sea.
This was formalised in a recently signed memorandum of understanding. The two parties are willing to share regular transit routes on both the northern and the middle corridor. It is also looking at developing new services, such as a maritime link across the mentioned seas.
Shandong Port was formally established in 2019, integrating Qingdao Port, Rizhao Port, Yantai Port and Bohai Bay Port. The merger of the four ports has made the Shandong Provincial Port Group the largest port group in China, with the group’s cargo throughput exceeding 1.6 billion tons in 2022.
Ever since, it has been a successful hub for rail-sea transportation. It has successively opened a number of railway lines starting from Qingdao and Rizhao and passing through Alashankou and Korgos. At present, trains can reach Almaty within 10-15 days from the port, saving nearly 30 days compared with sea transportation.
Qingdao and the BRI
That there should be an increased focus on Qingdao has been agreed upon by several countries in the region. Qingdao should be used as a bridgehead to build an Asian rail-sea intermodal transport center, is the general consensus. In this way, it should also be a hub on the Belt and Road.
At present, the multimodal transportation center of Qingdao Port connects Japan and South Korea to the Asia-Pacific region in the east, the SCO countries in the west, ASEAN countries in the south, and Mongolia and Russia in the north. After signing the memorandum with KTZ, it will further strengthen the relationship with Central Asia.