Conglomerate investing in infrastructure to help transport goods across Central Asia
Kazakh conglomerate PTC Holding is striving to be part of the development of the Eurasian transport network, especially after a visit to Kazakhstan by a senior Chinese official in September.
Since the senior official noted that there is a need to increase bilateral cooperation in the transport and logistics sector, PTC Holding, as a prominent player specializing in transport and logistical services, is committed to seizing the opportunity.
PTC Cargo, one of the subsidiaries of PTC Holding, said it intends to open a branch in China in the near future.
It is to increase the volume of transit cargo flows between China and Europe, Persian Gulf countries, Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Commonwealth of Independent States countries, Baltic States and Georgia.
PTC Holding, an international diversified group of companies and one of the largest owners and operators of various railway rolling stock and infrastructure in Central Asia, has become renowned among Chinese logistics companies, the company said.
The group, which carries out transportation throughout Eurasia, replenished its infrastructure portfolio in 2021.
This includes a multifunctional cargo-handling terminal at Dostyk Station with a design capacity of 160,000 twenty-foot equivalent units per year.
This summer, the second phase of Dostyk TransTerminal project was put into operation, which doubled the terminal’s capacity by half, to 320,000 TEUs.
Also, new corresponding railway infrastructure was opened which allows cargo to be processed using “end-to-end” technology quickly and safely.
“The capacity of the terminal gives the opportunity to load nine container unit trains per day. Moreover, we have built a new siding, which enables the loading of containers and trains without them entering the Dostyk Station,” said Olzhas Shilterkhanov, CEO of PTC Cargo.
“A container unit train comes from China to our terminal, then it is loaded for the customer, and afterwards it departs to the destination point from our terminal. New tracks link the Dostyk Trans-Terminal with the main railway network directly and this is one of our main advantages.
“On Sept 1, we received all the documents of our new railway infrastructure, and recruited and trained employees. And since Oct 1, we have passed 51 container unit trains through the ‘Severnyi’ park of Dostyk Station,” Shilterkhanov added.
Dostyk TransTerminal is the first and currently the only terminal at Dostyk Station that allows transportation using pass-through technology.
Moreover, it is possible to form longer container unit trains — up to 71 conventional units, which is the agreed maximum length of trains among Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia.
At this time, the first phase of Dostyk TransTerminal is complete, the second phase is accelerating, and by the end of this year, the plan is to bring maximum production capacity.
In the future, the construction of the third phase will raise the capacity to a maximum of 480,000 TEUs per year. When PTC Cargo opens a subsidiary in China, it will cooperate with local logistics platforms for transit through Kazakhstan.
“The registration of our branch in Shanghai is coming to an end. The branch will be able to sign contract agreements with Chinese carriers directly, forming its own pool of customers.
“It is necessary for us to offer the ‘door-to-door’ service from point A to point B directly to the courier, and not only to the forwarder or container carrier with whom we are currently working.
“The ability to control logistics along the entire route will provide high-quality planning of the passage of goods through interstate junction points, ensure timely delivery of rolling stock for these loads, control all aspects related to document flow and registration of transit declarations at the junctions.
“While providing the services along the whole route, our company can guarantee high-quality service to clients,” Shilterkhanov said.
In September, the senior Chinese official noted that China and Kazakhstan are working to create a highly efficient and convenient multimodal transport artery through Eurasia during his visit.
The transit of freight trains in the China-Europe direction, established on the territory of Kazakhstan, is playing a significant role in ensuring the continuity of global supply chains and production.
However, due to prevailing geopolitical conditions, China is considering alternative transport and logistics routes that bypass Russia. China has launched a test railway route to Germany via Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, the company said.
Since 2019, logistics in the world have changed dramatically, PTC Cargo said.
And Kazakhstan is capable of offering many solutions for the transportation of goods to partners and global markets amid such situations.
PTC Cargo is ready to organize transportation through any complexity with its own facilities, agents and partners to find a flexible and universal solution for each client, including the Middle Corridor route.
The Middle Corridor is a Trans-Caspian International Transport Route that travels from China through Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Georgia and further on to Turkey and some European countries.
In the first nine months of 2022, the volume of traffic by the Middle Corridor increased 2.7 times compared to the same period of 2021, reaching 1.08 million metric tons of cargo.
Members of the Middle Corridor Association now total 20, including companies engaged in railway administration, ports, shipping and logistics across eight countries.
“Our Trans-Caspian corridor is becoming relevant and attractive for China. We have already sent an official letter to the Association of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route about the inclusion of Dostyk Station in the Middle Corridor route. This will create additional opportunities for Chinese couriers to transport goods to Europe,” Shilterkhanov said.
“As you know, China plans volumes and routes in advance. If they see that Khorgos Station of the Chinese side is overloaded, they might not approve a plan. It means that the cargo will not receive approval by China Railway Container Transport Corp and will remain until next month. If Dostyk appears in Middle Corridor, the cargo can be sent through Alashankou which is Chinese side of Dostyk Station,” the executive said.
In the current global situation, the China-Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Turkey-Europe route “looks interesting”, the company said. An overland route can take over part of the cargo flows that today miss out of the traditional routes through Russia, Belarus and further to Europe.
Faced with such a situation, PTC Holding, together with its subsidiaries, is ready to provide services on this transport branch as well, with the aim to reduce travel time for Chinese couriers, the company said.
By the end of this year, PTC Cargo plans to transfer about 160,000 TEUs via Dostyk TransTerminal, which is about 15 percent of the annual container cargo flow through Kazakhstan.
“PTC Cargo is ready to increase these volumes. Therefore, we welcome the position of the leadership of China and Kazakhstan, Central Asian countries, Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia in building new logistics chains; investing in the development of railway infrastructure and rolling stock; including the involvement of private investment; and we are actively involved in this,” Shilterkhanov said.
PTC Cargo also provides flexibility and versatility in solutions through the supply of its 20-foot hardtop containers for transportation.
This type of container is suitable for the transportation of an extensive range of goods: from grain and other types of bulk cargo to dimensional equipment.
The company has also adopted new designs of container, in a bid to allow the loading of up to 32 tons or 37.6 cubic meters each. The removable sealed lid and opening end doors will allow couriers to develop a better way of loading their products and be sure of the safety and quality.
At present, containers are a symbol of cooperation between Chinese manufacturers and the company, they are certified and available for any type of transport, said PTC Cargo.
PTC Holding is one of the largest owners and operators of various railway rolling stock and infrastructure in Central Asia. Its shipping volume reached 14.1 million tons in 2021.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development of Kazakhstan, the total volume of transit through Kazakhstan in the direction of China and Europe reached 1.07 million TEUs in 2021. Goods transiting through Dostyk TransTerminal this year will reach an expected 1.1 million TEUs, the ministry said.