Kazakhstan’s grain export volumes to China could double in 2024, in line with the Alashankou border crossing’s capacity doubling for grain transportation. Another border crossing, the Khorgos terminal, will also stimulate grain transportation capacity by allowing grain to be transported in other loading units than just containers.
According to KTZ, China will double grain volumes by facilitating their transport in “grain carriers, closed wagons and containers at the Alashankou terminal”. For the Khorgos terminal, grain will be allowed to be transported for the first time in grain carriers and covered wagons at the site. Currently, 78 per cent of the Kazakh grain exported to China is containerised. “Non-containerised grain export could be good and bad,” Frank Shao, founder of Tiedada, shared with RailFreight.com. Grain could drop from grain carriers and covered wagons in gauge exchange, but “apparently, these loading units carry more volume,” Shao said.
The new development is part of an agreement between the Kazakhstan-China railways. The two parties eye on reaching the bilateral rail freight volumes at 27.8 million tons in 2024, which will be one million tons more than the 2023 goal, currently set as 26.8 million tons. The final figures of the 2023 volume are supposed to correspond to 3.6 million tons more than 2022. Kazakh exports will increase by 25 per cent and imports by six per cent, with grain already benefiting a lot.
The use of railways to transport Kazakh grain exported to China has increased four times between September 2022 and June 2023 compared to the same period 12 months prior. The increasing grain volumes have already reached 1.1 million tonnes. One of the most evident signs of this increase is the Altynkol-Khorgos border crossing, where grain loading increased by 200 times, as Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ) reported.