Rhenus Logistics and KTZ team up to boost the Middle Corridor
Rhenus Logistics and Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ) are partnering up to further develop middle Corridor capacity and freight handling. The German firm and Kazakh state-owned company aim at developing transhipment facilities in the Caspian Sea ports of Aktau and Kuryk, logistic centres in the wider Caspian region, and a container hub in Aktau. Additionally, they want to attract more transit cargo through the corridor.
Rhenus has been active in Central Asia for almost 30 years, already having the needed market knowledge to be involved in such transport projects. The two parties signed the cooperation MoU during the German presidential visit to Kazakhstan. Their partnership is part of a broader German-Kazakh approach to strengthening transport and logistics ties between the two states. After all, Kazakhstan is becoming one of Germany’s most important partners concerning the supply of energy materials.
Strong growth in the region
“We expect strong growth in Central Asian and Caucasian economies and an increase in containerised goods flows. The ports of Aktau and Kuryk are important hubs along the Middle Corridor to connect traffic between Asia and Europe”, commented Heinrich Kerstgens, project manager and representative of the management board of Rhenus Group. He added that the goal of Rhenus is to use the partnership with KTZ to expand links between the Middle Corridor and networks in Europe.
Tobias Bartz, CEO of Rhenus Group, stressed that the Middle Corridor is more than just a transit route since it provides access to the Central Asian market, with more than 90 million consumers. The fact that the real potential of the Middle Corridor lies in the markets surrounding it and not only in traffic coming from China is something that more Middle Corridor players have highlighted.
For instance, Iain Rawlinson, CCO at the APM terminals at the port of Poti, has said that the Middle Corridor’s actual opportunities lie with the development of Central Asian markets, as he believes that services delivering goods in and out of this region have long-term sustainable potential beyond the current geopolitical reality. “Multimodal services connecting the region with countries to the West will have long-term attractiveness to the market”, commented Rawlinson.
The key for this route is not to expect rapid capacity increases since it is still relatively new. Indeed the pressure put on the Middle Corridor after the Russian route was excluded from several supply chains made it look insufficient. However, the corridor seems to be rebounding, and this year’s figures might show substantial growth compared to previous years. Consequently, partnerships like the one between Rhenus and KTZ will gradually help it grow even more and help Europe tap into new and needed markets.