A freight train on transit through Kazakhstan. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Faster and more trains through Kazakhstan this year

The traffic volumes transported through Kazakhstan in the first half of 2018 has more than doubled on a year-to-year basis, the national railway company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) announced. During the first six months 1861 container trains travelled through the country, amounting to 180 thousand TEUs. This was 52 per cent more than in the same period of 2017.

The growth was mostly achieved in the direction to and from Uzbekistan, bordering Kazakhstan on the south. Traffic between China-Uzbekistan grew by 66 per cent, while Russia-Uzbekistan traffic increased by 86 per cent and Uzbekistan-Russia traffic by 63 per cent. Traffic between China and Europe, following the New Silk Road, accounted for 66 per cent of the total number of container trains. Eastbound movement of goods increased by 38 per cent, while westbound traffic grew at a faster pace by 55 per cent.

Reorientation to Khorgos – Altynkol

The average speed of container trains on the territory of Kazakhstan was 941 kilometre per day, which means that the speed has increased with 53 kilometre compared to the same period last year. “To increase the attractiveness of transit routes through Kazakhstan, work has been carried out to reorient container flows from the Alashankou-Dostyk border to the Khorgos-Altynkol crossing, as this area has a number of advantages”, said deputy director general for marketing and integrated transportation planning at KTZ Freight Transportation Sagyndyk Zhumabayev.

“The processing capacity for container cargo at the station of Dostyk is 760 TEUs per day, while the station at Altynkol is able to handle more than 5000 TEUs per day. Moreover, complicated meteorological conditions with gusts of wind of more than 25 metre per second make it difficult to work at Dostyk station and adjacent areas”, Zhumabayev noted.

Reducing costs

In order to reduce the costs of transit, container trains are dispatched along the alternative route Dostyk-Kartaly in cooperation with Russian Railways. The attractiveness of this route lies in the relatively low cost of transportation due to the presence of double-track electrified railway lines at the Moyinty-Kartaly range, the Kazakh railway company explained.

Moreover, eforts are taken to form “elongated” container trains according to the “3-2” principle: trains with a length of 57 conventional wagons with full container loading. This allows reducing the service of one locomotive traction and increasing the composition of the train, which, accordingly, will reduce the costs for the operation of rolling stock and infrastructure.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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