Kazakhstan calls on Caspian countries to create food hub and use transit links

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called on the Caspian countries to establish a collective food hub to increase mutual trade and harness the potential of various transport links in the region.

“It is pleasing that a significant increase is observed in Kazakhstan’s trade with Azerbaijan – multiplied by 2.3 – and with Iran and Turkmenistan – multiplied by two. Our exports of high quality wheat (about 5 million tons) and food wheat (about 1.5 million tons) make We have more than one million tons of oilseed crops in reserve. Moreover, Kazakhstan has significant potential to increase exports of meat and dairy products,” Tokayev said.

“The systemic integration between these centers and the Caspian food hub would open up new opportunities for effective cooperation between farmers, buyers, transporters, sellers and consumers. And, above all, it would provide reliable guarantees for the sale of all products to be supplied,” he said during his address to the sixth Caspian states summit held in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on June 29, according to the official site of the Kazakh President.

Tokayev stressed the need to develop modern logistics infrastructure in order to strengthen trade cooperation between the Caspian countries.

“That’s why we proposed to establish a Caspian food center that would increase mutual exchanges with minimal expenses,” he said.

He recalled that Kazakhstan has started building modern distribution centers with state-of-the-art food warehousing, storage and sales systems.

The Kazakh President also called on the states bordering the Caspian to use the potential of the North-South railway line linking Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran.

“We were able to make maximum use of the capacities of the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway line, which is the shortest route between East Asia and the Persian Gulf countries. This new logistics solution allows us to cover more than 6,000 km in just 12 days“, Tokayev added.

He also spoke of the need for wider use of the Trans-Caspian Sea route in the current circumstances where traditional freight routes have been disrupted.

“The role of the Trans-Caspian international transport route has increased significantly in ensuring transit flows between Europe, Central Asia and China. According to the results of five months of this year, the volume of transport of Kazakh goods the along the route increased by 2.5- times, and the total turnover of trade with the countries of the Caspian Sea – by more than 9%,” noted the President.

Tokayev explained that Kazakhstan has already started modernizing its port infrastructure and developing its maritime fleet, in order to increase the volume of cargo traffic by sea.”

On June 19, the Kazakh and Iranian presidents attended a ceremony to launch a rail service from Kazakhstan to Turkey via Iran. The Iran-Kazakhstan transit pact signed on May 23 requires cargo from China to Europe to pass through the Iranian route. Prior to this, Chinese cargo was routed to Europe via Russia via an overland route north of the Caspian Sea.

“We have tested the first container for rail service to see how long it takes for freight to cross borders with China, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran and further afield to Turkey, to show that there is a new route to shorter access to the European Union, other countries,” Kazakh Minister of Trade and Integration Bakhyt Sultanov said on June 23.

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