Where East

Meets West

Karl Gheysen – Kazakhstan, where the East meets West along the New Silk Route.

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The trans-Caspian corridor is one of the key route in the New Silk Road development that is highly supported by the government of Kazakhstan. Despite that Khorgos Gateway is a dry port without sea access, our ambition is to become the main link between Asia and Europe. In close participation with countries of Black and Caspian Sea regions, we can efficiently use the transport and logistics infrastructure that has been developed at the border between Kazakhstan and China to increase the cargo transit and remove existing barriers in the trade relations between China and Europe on both ways.

To meet the current and future needs of the transported volumes Kazakhstan is creating an efficient infrastructure for transport and logistics. “Khorgos Gateway” container terminal at the border with China, will allow Kazakhstan to become the central hub, for the consolidation and distribution of freight flows in the Eurasian continent. The expected volume by 2020 is 1 mln TEU. 
“Khorgos Gateway” is the key element of revival of the New Silk Road, which brings together Eastern and Western markets. In line with that, the national Kazakh railway company KTZ, is actively working with the Chinese railways and all major provinces of China. The intention is develop fast and reliable rail route solutions to customers and take advantage of our facilities.

A second result of the Kazakh and Chinese cooperation is the formally confirmed intention by the province of Jiangsu, who has agreed with an investment of 600 mln USD from China into the Kazakh rail freight corridor including the Special Economic Zone of Khorgos. 
Today, many domestic and foreign companies have already confirmed their intentions to use this route for the transport of their goods and even formalize new block trains from “Khorgos Gateway” to different destinations. To keep up the development of this project, it is important to build up new relations and find additional customers that are willing to increase their volumes and profits.

In your opinion, what are some of the key differences between the Asian and European markets?

As we all know, Asia is the factory of the world. It produces and export majority of the products we find in Europe. It ranges from the pair of shoes to the electronic device you use to download your music or watch your favorite movie, passing through products such as your washing machine, your sofa and even your canned tomato for your pasta. 
On the other hand, Europe exports to Asia mainly machineries, chemicals and a big part of its scrap products (paper, metal, etc). Such type of commodity does not necessarily need a fast transit time and cannot absorb a high transportation cost. 
However, for the past years we have seen emerging an Asian middle class particularly in China that accounts over 250 millions people. This middle class is becoming very demanding in term of quality of product and specifically the safety and traceability of the food. The recent milk scandals in China has created a huge demand for such product made in Europe. We see that other high value products are following the same trend and the Asian consumer, specifically the Chinese one, will be ready to pay extra dollars to have the product they trust in a short period when they order it through Taobao or any web platform. This is where Khorgos Gateway, an efficient logistics and industrial hub will play its role in better serving both markets.