Transport and Logistics
Investment Group of companies of the
Republic of Kazakhstan

KOMMERSANT: Trans-Kazakhstan transit from China is growing

The volume of cargo handling at Dostyk TransTerminal increased to 129 thousand TEU. In June, the pass through the Dostyk station grew to 14 trains per day after the private Kazakh transport and logistics group of companies PTC Holding commissioned the second stage of the trans-shipment terminal Dostyk TransTerminal on the border with China. During the year, from June 2021 to June 2022, through the terminal carried out the transhipment of 129 thousand. TEU. In addition, the terminal operator plans to open a representative office in China to offer customers a comprehensive freight service from the dispatching station to the destination station, guaranteeing service all the way. The main partner in this project is the Russian-Belarusian-Kazakh transit operator AO OTLK EPA.

Transit growth
The existing infrastructure and capacity of the Dostyk TransTerminal terminal will allow the Dostyk station to increase the reception on the border crossing «Alashankou»-«Dostyk» to 22 trains per day. PTC Cargo Director General Olzhas Shilterkhanov informed that the Chinese side has received a notification of this during the meeting of representatives of the Kazakh and Chinese railways.

PTC Holding launched the second phase of Dostyk TransTerminal in late May, increasing its capacity from 160 thousand. to 320 thousand. TEU. The first container train from the second stage to Duisburg with appliances from Shenzhen was dispatched on 20 May. The first stage of the terminal was launched a year ago, on July 5, 2021. We assumed that the volumes of trans-shipment from track to track will grow, that transit will grow and interest in the Kazakh-Chinese border crossing will only increase.- Timur Karabayev, chairman of PTC Holding, said “K” In June 2021 we launched the first stage of the terminal, and already in August-September last year we realized that the volumes of the first stage are filled, while the interest of our customers in additional volumes remains. That is why the second stage started so quickly and the pace of its construction accelerated».

Now, says Mr Shilterhanov, the terminal is 35% loaded. We have a capacity of 12 trains per day, but now we are overloading 4.5 trains per day,-he says The main reason is the problem of providing empty rolling stock due to quarantine measures imposed by Chinese Railways and restrictions on the acceptance of trains from Kazakhstan. As a result, the Kazakh carrier was left behind the movement (abandoned) of container trains, which resulted in the late delivery of platforms under overload».

New paths
The second stage, as well as the railway junction built by the company and 13 km of track bypassing the Dostyk station, allow not only to double the amount of trans-shipment, but also by means of end-to-end technology to significantly reduce the operating time. When the construction of the first stage of the terminal was nearing completion in 2021, we realized that another factor constraining the rapid congestion is the linking of all terminals to the Dostyk station,- says Timur Karabayev, Chairman of the Board of PTC Holding. And the entrance of laden carriages on a narrow track on the Chinese side, and exit on a wide track goes through Dostyk. Given that quite a number of access roads are adjacent to the station, that it is a border and there goes not only containerized cargo, but also universal rolling stock, and semi-cars, and indoor, and tanks, it makes no sense to do a quick overload there, then get stuck in any way at the station of origin. Or it is not possible to quickly put under the overload a free wagon on a wide track, not be able to quickly return the unloaded wagons to the Chinese side. Here came the understanding of what you need to do through technology to be able to unload the Dostyk station and also increase the rate of overload». As a result, PTC Holding has built additional tracks and tracks that allow it to bypass the Dostyk station to avoid traffic jams. The total investment in the project amounted to 23.5 billion tenge, or about $49 million. Now the terminal can handle not 6, but 12-15 container trains per day.

Another advantage of the terminal is the usable length of loading lanes, which is 1050 m, which allows to form full-length container trains without splitting it into parts. «Terminal infrastructure allows to form for the client a container train on optimized schemes «three for two», «two for one», that is, there are possibilities of three trains to form two trains, from two – one at the expense of more compressed loading»,- explained the PTC Cargo Operations Director Gulym Kulzhanov.

Now the newly built crossing is transferred to the balance «Kazakhstan temir zholy» (KTZ – Kazakhstan Railways). As Olzhas Shilterkhanov explained, in July the company received a notice of the adoption of the act of commissioning: «There were literally small procedures inside KTZ and several governmental bodies that have to agree on it». He expected the work to be completed within a month.

Geography of supply
The main routes processed by the terminal are deliveries to Europe and Russia. During the year from June to June, container handling on Dostyk TransTerminal reached 129 thousand. TEU. The main part of the transhipment, or 115 thousand. TEU, fell on the projects of OTLK EPA – JV railways of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, serving transit China-Europe-China through the territories of the participating countries. According to PTC Cargo’s own projects, TEU exceeded 14 thousand. Of which 9.4 thousand. TEU is cargo intended for Russia, 3.1 thousand. TEU – for Europe, the rest is Uzbekistan and imports to Kazakhstan.

The key partner of Dostyk TransTerminal is OTLK EPA. But, as Olzhas Shilterkhanov explains, the terminal allows to accept other clients, other container operators. «Now we work with «Transcontainer», and with «Logbox» company, and with others,- he says.- By June, we have an overload within the OTLC EPA service – 60%, 40% – other partners, whereas in April the ratio was 80% to 20%. This does not mean that OTLK EPA has decreased its volumes – we have just increased the capacity». He explained that the expansion of the site by another 600 FEU was under consideration so that the terminal could receive cargo not only in the direction of Europe and Russia, but also in Central Asia.

Dostyk TransTerminal is planning to open a branch in China to expand its supply geography. «It will not be a representative office – it will be an international company with economic activities, so that it can conclude contracts with Chinese Railways and all Chinese logistics platforms, which receive subsidies from the Chinese government»’This is Olzhas Shilterkhanov. He explains that this is to enable the company to offer a service from point A to point B directly to the shipper. When we control the logistics on the whole route, it is very convenient to plan the delivery of rolling stock, to control all the points related to the document circulation, the issuance of transit declarations. And when our company operates all the way, we can guarantee the customer service. When we purchase service from our partners and other forwarders in parts, we do not see this and can guarantee service only from the moment of arrival of the cargo at the Kazakhstan border». He explained that the company is currently being registered, it is tentatively expected to be based in Shanghai.

Expansion plans
In due course, I think we will do the third and fourth stages, but the infrastructure must be prepared for this, – says Timur Karabayev. Now we have unloaded the Dostyk station itself due to the construction of a new junction, but then there is a section of Dostyk-Moyinty length of 830 km – there KTZ is conducting a large project to extend the crossings, build a second track, and depending on how this project develops, we will make decisions on our own development».

As Olzhas Shilterkhanov explained, the implementation of the third stage is envisaged until 2025. While the company considers the need for the construction of the third stage, while analyzing the demand of customers. Most likely, the third stage will be built, but we will take into account the needs of our customers,-he says.- For example, there are now a lot of requests included for the transportation of cars in ATUs. On Dostyk there is no possibility to reload the carriages with nets – you need to build a ramp. On Altynkol it is, there are transportations. There are also many requests for overload from cars to the railway. It works in Dostyk, too, but with the terminal now loaded, it’s not happening so fast. Accordingly, in the third stage we will go, considering all options and requests from our clients, and will make adjustments to the master plan».

According to Mr Shilterkhanov, the traffic through the Dostyk border crossing will increase. Now China is beginning to actively send through our junctions, given the increase in the volume of train transfers through Dostyk,- he says The Chinese Railway is beginning to restrict shipments and introduce conventions in the direction of Alashankou and Khorgos because the station on their part is unable to cope with volumes». He expects volumes from China to grow because all customers want to deliver their cargo quickly. Now the cargo from the easternmost point, from Yiu (China), reaches Moscow in about 12 days,- he says.- It’s very fast. That’s why customers choose the railroad. Road transport is unstable, because now there are a lot of cars, the sea – not all lines take cargo to Russia. Europe is accepted, but it is necessary to book two months in advance. Railways are now a good alternative».

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