India -Kazakhstan discuss potential of the Eastern branch of NS International Transit Corridor

3 November 2018, New Delhi 

A roundtable on the theme: “Kazakhstan – Turkmenistan – Iran – India. Current situation and perspectives” was held on October 31, 2018, in New Delhi. The event was organized by the Embassy of Kazakhstan together with the Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations in India and JSC “Kazakhstan Temir Zholy Express” (Kazakhstan railway express) with the support of the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Republic of India.

The main purpose of the event was to inform the Indian business community about the logistical capabilities of the Eastern branch of the “North-South” transit corridor and to attract Indian business circles to the wider use of this route.

At the opening ceremony, the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to India Bulat Sarsenbayev acquainted participants with the State of the Nation Address of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev “Growing welfare of Kazakh citizens: Increase in income and quality of life” and presented a brochure with the text of the Message in Hindi and English languages.

Bulat Sarsenbayev gave an analysis of the high potential of the Eastern branch of the “North-South” route and encouraged the Indian business community to make wide use of it. He briefed media that Kazakhstan National Railway Company is coordinating with Indian companies to take this forward. Our next suggestions are to set up a consortium to deliver the goods to multinational like India, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Russian Federation. To make this way possible, we talked and exchanged a Memorandum of Understanding between India and Kazakhstan. “Today we discussed the Rail Corridor from Bander Abbas to Turkmenistan to Kazakhstan. This is 2000KM long Railway track from Aktau city of Kazakhstan to Bandar Abbas of Iran. Last year India and Kazakhstan business scaled up to 1 Billion USD, but this year from January to July we have reached the mark of 860 Million USD. We hope to make it increase.” Bulat added.

Ambassador said that India and Kazakhstan are cooperating in many areas like Space Technology, Information Technology, and Military-Technical Cooperation. “One project in Space Cooperation between India and Kazakhstan will be about 1 billion USD.” He added.

The President of JSC “Kazakhstan Temir Zholy Express” Dias Iskakov presented detailed information about the possibilities of this route and the experience of Kazakhstan in its use. There were also presentations and discussions with the participation of Indian public and private structures.

The event was also attended by representatives of the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Shipping of India, the diplomatic corps, the management of the seaport of Mumbai, the Association of Commerce and Industry of India, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Chambers of Indian Importers and others. The Indian side was also represented by representatives of more than 30 large transport, logistics and business companies. A number of bilateral meetings were held during the event.

At the end of the roundtable, the signing ceremony of the Agreement on transport and forwarding services by rail between JSC “Kazakhstan Temir Zholy Express” and a large Indian logistics company “Tuberose Logistics” took place. The signed document provides for concrete steps by the two sides to develop promising cooperation. The parties also agreed to implement a pilot supply of goods on the route Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran-India until the beginning of the next year.

The roundtable aroused considerable interest in the business and government circles of India. The Joint Secretary Eurasian Division, Ministry of External Affairs of India Mr Manish Prabhat drew attention to the high perspective of the route.

The management of companies already operating in the Republic of Kazakhstan also attended the Roundtable. In particular, the Chief operating officer of Special Economic Zone “Khorgos – Eastern Gate” Mr Hicham Belmaachi, General Director of Goodrich company Mr Sanju Kollappapillai Mani and Chief executive-railways KEC International limited logistic company Mr Rakesh Gaur shared their experience on transport logistic cooperation with Kazakhstan during the event.

The participants of the event emphasized that the wide use of this transport route will significantly reduce the time of cargo delivery and, accordingly, increase the trade turnover between the two countries by two or three times (the current Kazakhstan-India trade turnover is about $ 1 billion).

India hopes for a better result

On this occasion, the Immediate Past Chairman of the Federation of Freight Forwarders Association in India, Sameer Shah said that we have reached 14 countries till now in Central Asia. Today we have discussed our problems and their solution in this meeting. In the presence of the President of JSC “Kazakhstan Temir Zholy Express” Dias Iskakov, we have exchanged new routes and goods to reach a wider population. Our relationship with Kazakhstan is historic and it is cooperative like the Indian people. We hope that by increasing the work on these routes and freight, our mutual business will progress.

M. Ramakrishna, Vice Chairman of Federation of Freight Forwarders Association in India, said that our organization offers several options to importers and exporters like Multi Model Transport Option ie MTO. The most prominent in this is that we can give traders cheaper transportation options. He told that we are trying to reduce costs by multi-model freight. For this, we are getting help on the Eastern Corridor. This is a 100% development till Kazakhstan and the cost of the container is also coming down due to the arrival of rail transport. Ramakrishna said that China has the capacity to carry 480 containers at a time in rail transport from Silk Route and India has also developed the capacity to transport 480 containers from Mundra to Dadri, Uttar Pradesh.

Events Desk, Diplomacytoday.in