The implementation of the construction of a modern multimodal transport and logistics center near Tashkent records the transformation of the private Kazakh carrier group of companies “PTC Holding” into a transnational logistics company.
The signing of a memorandum between Kazakhstan’s PTC Holding and Halyk Bank, as well as Uzbekistan’s VUONO CAPITAL LLC on cooperation in the implementation of a project for the construction of a transport and logistics terminal, held today in Tashkent in the presence of the Presidents of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, is a landmark event for Kazakh business for several important reasons.
First of all, this means that private Kazakh carriers have managed to gain the necessary competencies, have grown and are ready to turn into transnational players, at least in the markets of Central Asia.
“Today, the PTC Holding Group of Companies has its own vision and capabilities within the framework of the country strategy, how to develop international transport logistics. In order not to be late, in order to be in the thick of events, in order to be present in international multimodal logistics transport projects, it is necessary to have a clear network of supporting assets in the form of terminals,” said Timur Karabayev, Chairman of the Management Board of PTC Holding.
Today, the Central Asian region shows a steady growth trend (20-30% annually) of container traffic. In particular, in Uzbekistan, in the period from 2016 to 2022, the volume of container traffic increased 2.2 times, from 96 to 220 thousand containers per year. However, both in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, further business development rests on a lack of infrastructure.
“Last year, PTC Holding built a terminal in Kazakhstan at Dostyk station, which allowed solving a number of infrastructure problems of the station, but most importantly, a base was created for the formation of container trains going from and to China. However, in order for the Kazakh business to participate and receive profitability from these shipments, we need a support terminal in the Republic of Uzbekistan, because cargo flows can go through different border crossings,” Timur Karabayev points out.
As a strategic goal in the PTC Holding Group, they see a comprehensive increase in transit potential through Kazakhstan. The most important challenge and obstacle to achieving this task may be the opening of new border crossings. The border crossing through Kashgar-China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan is being actively discussed today. With its implementation, Kazakhstan may lose part of the cargo flow that transits through the country. And PTC Holding clearly understands this.
“Nature does not tolerate emptiness,” Timur Karabayev states. – Something will go there, but our task is to keep our customer base on Kazakhstan transit. Unfortunately, this cannot be done without a modern multimodal terminal.”
In such a situation, the reference terminal on the territory of Uzbekistan is, according to Timur Karabayev, “just the piece that is missing to show the client the complete puzzle of the service in Central Asia.”
According to him, today both Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are quite young, the population has a trend of steady growth, and this growth is accompanied by an increase in consumption of different groups of goods. In addition, the standard of living of people is also growing in the countries, which inevitably brings new services and new goods here.
“Interest in Central Asia, and Kazakhstan is the only transit country for the Central Asian market, and therefore supply chains and logistics chains “in” and “out” of Central Asia, will grow strongly. We have analyzed the current state of affairs with terminal facilities and understand that there is simply no ready-made large terminal with Class A warehouses, refrigerated warehouses, pharmaceutical warehouses in Uzbekistan. Our task, by creating a good infrastructure, is not to miss this trend, that is, not to give the palm to foreign capital if we can do it ourselves,” the head of RTS Holding believes.
As for the project itself, at the first stage in 2023-2026, it is planned to build about 24 km of railway tracks, storage areas for 2,400 containers, a class A warehouse with an area of more than 22,000 m2, which include modern warehouses with the possibility of temperature control, a modern information system that meets international standards and other related engineering infrastructure to ensure the operation of the terminal. According to the signed memorandum, Halyk Bank is ready to provide financing for this in the amount equivalent to 70 million US dollars. The operator of the project will be a subsidiary of PTC Holding – PTC-CA. The site of the future center itself will be located 10 kilometers from Tashkent. To access the territory of the planned multimodal transport and logistics center, the highway connecting with the M-39 Tashkent – Samarkand highway will be reconstructed and modernized.
“We want to make this terminal super innovative. That is, we use all the newest, most modern, most innovative things that exist in the world of logistics today in this project. This also applies to the technology of work – the supply of rolling stock, this concerns overloading, this also applies to equipment, that is, cranes, combine lifts that we order in Europe, this also applies to intra-warehouse storage and intra-warehouse logistics,” says Timur Karabayev. The entire project provides for the construction of railway infrastructure, including railway tracks (37.2 km long), container platforms with the possibility of simultaneous storage of more than 11,000 containers, modern class A, A+ warehouse complexes for loading and unloading, storage and handling of various cargoes, including those requiring a certain temperature regime with a total area of 248,000 m2. At the same time, the total investment is estimated at about $ 300 million.
“We immediately take a very high standard to show that we can do it. Probably, today the client will have the opportunity to come to a small warehouse in the Tashkent region, but, for example, customers from the e-commerce segment, which is now growing rapidly, need large areas. And most importantly, he needs speed, in every sense – delivery, transshipment, warehousing and door-to-door delivery speed. The synergy of machinery and equipment makes it possible to achieve exactly such goals,” the Chairman of the Management Board of PTC Holding believes.
Another important and significant nuance of the project is that, perhaps, for the first time, Kazakhstani transport workers are implementing it, working abroad, according to the DBFO (Design-Build-Finance-Operate) scheme. This means that it will be designed jointly by Kazakh and Uzbek design companies, financing will be provided by Kazakhstan’s Halyk Bank, and the construction and operation of the transport and logistics center will be handled by a subsidiary of PTC Holding.
“We think it’s a great opportunity when the first such project in Uzbekistan is being implemented by a Kazakh company,” says Timur Karabayev. According to him, the company managed to gather very good competencies and a very good team.
“We understand how it works in the best logistics centers in the world, our employees have toured many terminals in Germany, Europe, Turkey and we understand how modern logistics works. It can’t just work on the ground, we need the appropriate infrastructure. That is why it was decided to take such a risky step – to invest quite a lot of money in another country. Yes, we are taking a risk. But I think we will be the first and we will be successful. By implementing this project, we will prove first of all to ourselves, and to other market participants, that Kazakhstan’s business has grown to such a level that it can do good transnational infrastructure projects. We can develop, finance, build and then operate them,” the head of PTC Holding believes.