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China and Kazakhstan have established new second cross-border rail link
important implication for business, commerce, economic development, tourism and business travel between China, Kazakhstan, Central Asia and Europe

New rail link at Korgas Pass

China and Kazakhstan opened a new second cross-border rail link at Korgas Pass, Khorgos 霍爾果斯 a few days ago on 22.12.2012.  The rail link includes a 292km section in China and a 293km section in Kazakhstan (Zhetygen - Altynkol).  The Chinese section is reported to cost RMB 6 billion (US$962 million) to build.  It is estimated that the new rail link will turn Korgas Pass in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region into a key logistics hub for bustling regional trade, which has been growing at 30% per annum to reach US$17 billion last year and reportedly US$25 billion this year.  It is expected that Korgas will handle 20-23 million tonnes of cargo a year by 2020 and 35-38 million tonnes a year by 2030, compared with 15 million tonnes handled by  the previous only rail link at Alataw trade pass - Dostyk (Kazakhstan) and Alashankow 阿拉山口(China).  The new rail link is part of a strategic plan to enhance the China-Kazakhstan interconnection by rail, to link with a trans-continental highway transport route that connects China with Europe, and as part of the New Eurasia Land Bridge, a new rail link between the Asian and European continents.  China and Europe use standard gauge for their rail systems, while Kazakhstan previously used the wider gauge based on Russian rail system.  A new Trans-Kazakhstan Trunk Railways project was proposed in 2004 to eliminate the gauge difference problem.  The rail connection between Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Khorgos (China) completes the New Eurasia Land Bridge linking China to Europe.  Goods from Central Asia can now be transported all the way east to China's eastern seaport of Liangyunguang 连云港in Jiangsu Province 江苏省for shipping export and vice versa.

Korgas Pass
霍爾果斯 is 200 Km from the Kazakhstan capital Astana and 670 km from Urumqi 乌鲁木齐, the provincial capital of Xinjiang Province 新疆省会 of China.  A China-Kazakhstan free trade centre, named International Centre for Boundary Cooperation ICBC "Khorgos" and first of its kind in Eurasia, was opened at Korgas last year.  Trade promotional policies such as large tax concession for exports, permission to carry duty-free products, and long stay of 30 days at the centre for citizens of China, Kazakhstan and third party countries are applied at Korgas Pass.  The Free Trade Centre serves to reduce barriers and facilitate bilateral trade.  It taps into 60 million potential customers in the region.  With a network of new and existing highways, railways and oil pipelines, Korgas Pass has become an important logistics hub in Central Asia.

Link to video news about the new second
cross-border rail link between China and Kazakhstan at Korgas Pass

China builds Second Eurasian Land Bridge

The following is extracted from an article by F. William Engdahl on www.globalresearch.ca dated 27.4.2012 titled "EURASIAN ECONOMIC BOOM AND GEOPOLITICS: China’s Land Bridge to Europe: The China-Turkey High Speed Railway“ which provides context information for the significance of the new second cross border rail link between China and Kazakhstan.

"By 2011 China had completed a Second Eurasian Land Bridge running from China’s port of Lianyungang on the East China Sea through to Kazakhstan’s Druzhba and on to Central Asia, West Asia and Europe to various European destinations and finally to Rotterdam Port of Holland on the Atlantic coast.

The Second Eurasian Land Bridge is a new railway connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic that was completed by China to Druzhba in Kazakhstan. This newest Eurasia land bridge extends west in China through six provinces–Jiangsu, Anhui, Henan, Shaanxi, Gansu, and Xinjiang autonomous region, which neighbors respectively with Shandong Province, Shanxi Province, Hubei Province, Sichuan Province, Qinghai Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Inner Mongolia. That covers about 360,000 square kilometers, some 37% of the total land space of China. About 400 million people live in the areas, which accounts for 30% of the total population of the country. Outside of China, the land bridge covers over 40 countries and regions in both Asia and Europe, and is particularly important for the countries in Central and West Asia that don’t have sea outlets.

In 2011 China’s Vice Premier Wang Qishan announced plans to build a new high-speed railway link within Kazakhstan, linking the cities of Astana and Almaty, to be ready in 2015.  The Astana-Almaty line, with a total length of 1050 kilometers, employing China’s advanced rail-building technology, will allow high-speed trains to run at a speed of 350 kilometers per hour......

The Second Eurasian Land Bridge runs 10,900 kilometers in length, with some 4100 kilometers of that in China. Within China the line runs parallel to one of the ancient routes of the Silk Road. The rail line continues across China into Druzhba where it links with the broader gauge rail lines of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is the largest inland country in the world. As Chinese rail and highways have expanded west, trade between Kazakhstan and China has been booming. From January to October 2008, goods passing through the Khorgos port between the two nations reached 880,000 tons – over 250% growth compared with the same period a year before. Trade between China and Kazakhstan is expected to grow 3 to 5 fold by 2013. As of 2008, only about 1% of the goods shipped from Asia to Europe were delivered by overland routes, meaning the room for expansion is considerable.  From Kazakhstan the lines go on via Russia and Belarus over Poland to the markets of the European Union."

Link to the full article "EURASIAN ECONOMIC BOOM AND GEOPOLITICS: China’s Land Bridge to Europe"

Rail Routes Map from Ansher Global

Implication for business

The opening of the second cross-border rail link between China and Kazakhstan means that the New Eurasian Land Bridge rail link passing through Kazakhstan connecting China and Europe over land is realized.  This should have a significant beneficial effect on business and investment along the route.  Investors, developers, architects, engineers, contractors, suppliers should see new business opportunities due to the opening of this route.  The bottleneck at the previous only rail link between China and Kazakhstan is lifted and trade (both bilateral & transit) volume between the two countries will be increased dramatically.  It has been predicted that the economic boom in Central Asia, which has just begun, will go on for a long time into the distant future.  The significance of this alternative shorter route for movement of goods between East Asia and Europe, and potentially extending to the East coast of North America over the Atlantic, cannot be underestimated.

Fabian Chan
Source: HKEJ, China CNR, Tengrinews, Wikipedia, GlobalResearch, Ansher - 26.12.2012

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China and Kazakhstan open new second rail link - renaissance of ancient Silk Road and opening to Eurasian economic boom

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