The Eurasian interlocutor is confident that Kazakhstan will be able to find new routes for transit and export of goods even under current difficult conditions
2022 from the very beginning became difficult for Kazakhstan. The tragic events of January and the worsening political situation abroad have greatly affected economic development, creating new risks for it. Among them are logistical risks: Kazakhstan is actively developing transit potential in order to earn money by transporting goods from China to Europe and Central Asia.
The closure of the Ukrainian land route and restrictions on shipments from Russian seaports make logistic market participants adapt and look for new routes. We have talked about this transformation with Shingys Tuleushin, CEO of PTC Cargo, which specializes in container transport. The Eurasian interlocutor spoke about the current trends in logistics and development of the most modern in Kazakhstan railway terminal «Dostyk Trans Terminal».
– Shingys Amanbaevich, PTC Cargo started operations in the middle of last year. What has been done so far and what is your focus now?
– Yes, we started our work in mid-2021 as an international agent and container train operator, and at the end of the same year we went into export operations. We are already forming our own container trains, managing the railway terminal «Dostyk Trans Terminal» on the border with China. A total of 35,000 containers were shipped through it – a good enough result for a partial year of work.
Now our task is to immerse ourselves in the market, to increase competence in their services and expand them without losing quality.
– 2022 started hard for the whole country. How did your company survive the tragic events of January?
– Indeed, the January events have had a major impact on the socio-political and economic situation in Kazakhstan. Many businesses and companies have faced limitations in their operations.
But our company has not been affected by these events. It is all about the specifics of the industry: we are engaged in the transit of goods from China to Europe through the territory of Kazakhstan, and therefore what happened to them did not affect. We fulfilled all the planned volumes, there were no container trains delays, trains were accepted at the terminal «Dostyk» without stops and delays.
As far as export transport is concerned, we have moved them for a while. Fortunately for all of us, the volatile situation did not last long, and all volumes were completed without significant delays for senders.
– Quickly escalated the situation around Ukraine. Did it affect the work of your company?
– Here I can mention two things – financial and logistical.
The first relates to the recent weakening of Tenge to foreign currencies. In the direction of «China – Europe» the main customer at us is the Chinese side, and then all transactions take place in foreign currency. We are protected from currency risks.
The second point is much wider. Yes, in general, land transport from China to Europe does not stop. But there is a factor that military actions are taking place near the route. Because of this, customers reduce the number of orders, and we see a trend to reduce their volume. It is too early to sum up, but we see a decline around 10-15%, and the trend remains.
All orders are executed by us.
There were also problems with the port of Kaliningrad, where previously the cargo was reloaded from the railway to the sea routes to Europe.
We had transport, which was performed through Ukraine, but now they stopped. Because of this, we lost part of the income.
As for transit through Russia and Belarus, transport is possible only through Brest and a few small border crossings. Kaliningrad, as I said earlier, is closed to us.
– Can one Brest handle all the volume?
– Most likely not. If the volumes are the same as last year, we will not be able to carry them through Brest.
Therefore, the important task now is for our railway administration and the relevant ministry to hold negotiations with «Russian Railways» about the possibility of agreeing new routes. For example, to send cargo to ports in the Baltic States. Now, as far as I know, this issue is already discussed.
Baltic ports are ready to receive our cargo. This was recently confirmed at a meeting with the Minister of Transport of Latvia. They are willing to accept shipments, and this is an opportunity for us to maintain the volume of shipments.
If the route goes to the Baltic States, there will be no colossal changes in terms of delivery. They have good, modern client-oriented ports with developed online systems.
– How does the current situation change your company’s plans for 2022?
– We planned to bet on the Ukrainian route as an alternative to the Russian direction, making there its own service for customers. Unfortunately, we can not yet transit through Ukraine, Poland and further to Europe.
And so we try to look for alternatives. Russia has restrictions on shipping goods from its seaports. Because of this, what used to go by sea can now go by land. For example, from Siberia now shipment to China can go through our terminal «Dostyk Trans Terminal». It is beneficial to both senders and us.
The prospects of the Trans-Caspian transport route are getting better. Measures are already being taken to increase the bandwidth and improve the service, the ability to accept the growing flow.
As far as I know, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia even plan to create a company at the state level that will improve the route.
It is necessary to use this opportunity: the cargoes that used to go through Russia, now can go on the Trans-Caspian transport route, and then on the sea to Europe.
Now «ball» on the side of logistists. The infrastructure in Ukraine is destroyed and will be restored for a long time, flows through Belarus are already loaded. Therefore, new alternative routes are important for us.
– Earlier you mentioned the terminal «Dostyk Trans Terminal». Why does Kazakhstan need it, and is there a demand for its services?
– The terminal on the Kazakh-Chinese border worked last year. The first stage of the terminal is already working, we expect the second to be launched in May.
The terminal tranships container trains, provides services on train consolidation, container repair, offers agency services. Now there is almost the entire range of services required in transit.
The second stage will increase the cargo handling capacity. We set ourselves the task of increasing the loading of the terminal and using its full potential. In January, we have already formed 30 trains of our own container trains, increasing the figure by three times compared to last year.
The special feature of the terminal is its 1150 m long platform. It allows the formation and grouping of container trains, for example, combining two trains into one. With the launch of Phase 2, we will be able to handle 10 container trains per day instead of the current five.
Now we work out different transport schemes from China to Europe and back, from China to Moscow and Tashkent. We see the potential for growth and are ready to accept new customer flows.
At the moment «Dostyk Trans Terminal» is the only automated terminal on the border of Kazakhstan. We use new technologies to provide faster services to our customers and to serve more cargo. It can be said that the appearance of «Dostyk» helped to increase the transit potential of Kazakhstan and to solve some of the problems with cargo delays at the border and the quality of service in the field of logistics.
We strive to provide the best service for our customers and are constantly developing in this direction.
Article reference: EU-14-KZ-7 (1)