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CAREC Federation of Carrier and Forwarder Associations

Republic of Kazakhstan


General Infromation.
The Republic of Kazakhstan is a unitary state with a presidential form of government.  According to the Constitution, the state proclaims itself a democratic, secular, legal and social state whose highest values are an individual, his life, rights and freedoms.

Kazakhstan gained independence on December 16, 1991. The capital is the city of Astana. The state language is Kazakh. The Russian language has the status of a language of interethnic communication. Monetary unit - tenge.

The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan is the head of state, its highest official, who determines the main directions of the domestic and foreign policy of the state and represents Kazakhstan within the country and in international relations. The President is the symbol and guarantor of the unity of the people and the state power, inviolability of the Constitution, rights and freedoms of an individual and citizen.

The Government implements the executive power of the Republic of Kazakhstan, heads the system of executive bodies and exercises supervision of their activity.

Legislative functions are performed by the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which consists of two Chambers acting on a permanent basis: the Senate and the Majilis.

The Senate is composed of deputies represented in an order, established by the constitutional law, on two persons from each region, major city and the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Fifteen deputies of the Senate are appointed by the President of the Republic taking into account necessity of maintenance of representation for the Senate of national-cultural and other significant interests of a society. The Majilis consists of hundred seven deputies elected in an order, established by the constitutional law. Nine deputies of the Majilis are elected by the Assembly of the people of Kazakhstan. Term of the powers of Senate deputies is six years; term of the powers of the Majilis deputies is five years. Currently three parties are presented in the Mazhilis – “Nur Otan” People's Democratic Party, “Ak zhol” Democratic Party of Kazakhstan and Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan.

By its administrative-territorial structure the country is divided into 14 regions and 2 cities of republican significance (Astana and Almaty)The population of Kazakhstan as of June 1, 2012 was 16 million 760 thousand people. According to the national census the ethnic structure of the Kazakhstan society by 2009 looks as follows: Kazakhs (63,07%), Russians (23,70%), Uzbeks (2,85%), Ukrainians (2,08%), Uygurs (1,40%), Tatars (1,28%), Germans (1,11%), Others (4,51%).

Kazakhstan is located in the centre of the Eurasian continent. Its territory is as large as 2 million 724,9 thousand square kilometers and accordingly it occupies the ninth place in the world by its size. In the North and West the republic has common borders with Russia - 7 591 km (the longest continuous overland border in the world), in the East with China - 1 783 km, in the South with Kyrgyzstan - 1 242 km, with Uzbekistan - 2 351 km and with Turkmenistan - 426 km. The total length of overland borders - 13 200 km. Besides that, there are two midland seas in its territory – the Caspian and Aral. Kazakhstan is the largest country in the world that has no direct access to the World ocean.

A large part of the country’s territory consists of deserts - 44% and semi-deserts - 14%. Steppes cover 26% of Kazakhstan’s territory, forests - 5,5%. There are 8,5 thousand rivers In Kazakhstan. The Northeastern part of the Caspian sea’s water area is situated within the country’s territory. The Aral sea is shared between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. There are 48 000 big and small lakes in Kazakhstan. The largest of them are Aral sea, Balkhash, Zaisan and Alakol.

Due to the remoteness from oceans the country has an extreme continental climate. The average temperature in January is around −19 °C in the north and −2 °C in the south, the average temperature in July is around +19 °C in the north and +28 °C in the south. Summer is hot and dry, winter is cold and snowy.

The Republic of Kazakhstan is an industrial country with mining operations being one of the main sources of its economic growth. The country’s mineral raw material base consists of more than 5 000 deposits which expected value is estimated at tens of trillion US dollars. The country holds first place in the world with regard to explored reserves of zinc, tungsten and barite, second - silver, lead and chromites, third - copper and fluorite, fourth - molybdenum, sixth - gold.

Kazakhstan also has considerable reserves of oil and gas, which are concentrated in its western areas. Nowadays the country belongs to the group of the world’s leading oil-producing states with volumes amounting to more than 80 million tons of oil and gas condensate a year. According to plans the annual extraction will be increased to 120 million tons by 2020. At present Kazakhstan is in 9th place in the world with regard to confirmed reserves of oil. Besides that, the country is in 8th place by the reserves of coal and 2nd place by the reserves of uranium.

Traditionally great attention in the country is paid to development of the agricultural sector. Kazakhstan is among world’s top ten grain exporters and is one of the leaders in flour export. Farming is well-developed in the north - 70 % of arable lands are used for growing grain and technical crops - wheat, barley, millet. In the south of the country rice, cotton and tobacco are grown. Kazakhstan is also known for its gardens, vineyards and gourd plantations. Animal husbandry is the leading branch of the agriculture. The key areas of the animal husbandry are sheep breeding, horse breeding, camel breeding, cattle breeding and pig breeding. Poultry farming and fishery are also developed in the country.

In a short historical term - from the moment of gaining independence in 1991 GDP per capita has increased by 16 times - from 700 to 12 000 US dollars, which is a phenomenal result even in comparison with swiftly developing southeast countries – so-called "tigers". According to British experts’ estimations, Kazakhstan is in third place after China and Qatar among 25 countries with most dynamic economies of the XXI century’s first decade. The country is in upper middle income group of countries as per World bank’s classification.

Over the years of independence Kazakhstan attracted 150 billion US dollars of foreign investments that makes up about 70% of the total amount of all investments attracted to the Central Asia. The country’s international reserves as of June 1, 2012 made up about 85 billion US dollars, of them more than 50 billion US dollars are related to the National fund.

In the World bank’s 2011 “Doing Business” ranking Kazakhstan took 47th place, leaving behind all CIS countries. In the 2011 World Competitiveness ranking of the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) the country was in 36th place being ahead of Indonesia, Turkey, Italy and many other countries.

Kazakhstan’s foreign trade turnover in 2011 made up more than 125 billion dollars. The main export goods are produced in the mining, fuel and energy, metallurgical, chemical and grain industries. The country’s main  trading partners are Russia, China, European countries and the CIS.

Aimed at the economy’s diversification the State program of forced industrial and innovative development is successfully implemented in the country. According to this strategic initiative old enterprises are being modernised and new enterprises and manufactures are opened nationwide.

Kazakhstan is implementing a large scale project “New Silk Way” which aims to revive the country’s historical role as a connecting link in the continent and transform it into a largest business and transit hub of the region, a bridge between Europe and Asia. As a result of implementation of this mega-project by 2020 the volume of cargo traffic passing through the country should increase by nearly 2 times and subsequently make up at least 50 million tons a year.

Kazakhstan’s touristic cluster also has a significant potential that is capable to convert large landscape riches and the unique cultural-historical heritage of the country into new opportunities for development.

Within large scale social modernisation of the country new schools, professional colleges and universities are being constructed, up-to-date medical clinics and hospitals are put into service and the system of social support of the population is being improved.

Kazakhstan is a country with a unique culture and a rich past. It is a direct historical successor of state formations established by nomads of the Great steppe. Accordingly, Kazakhstan is consistently implementing the main geopolitical mission - assistance in integration and formation of a common space of peace and creativeness in Eurasia.

At present representatives of 130 ethnic groups live in the country. A consultative-advisory body on harmonisation of interethnic relations - the Assembly of the people of Kazakhstan is successfully functioning. In 2012 the IV Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions took place in Astana and was attended by 85 delegations from 40 countries of the world. Annually since 2008 leading economists, analysts and experts from all over the globe are gathered at the Astana Economic Forum. In the beginning of 2011 VII Winter Asian Games were successfully conducted in Astana and Almaty, while the national team took first place in team rankings.

As a leader in the Central Asia, the country makes a considerable contribution to strengthening of the region’s stability. The country has achieved big successes on the international scene. The evidence of this is Kazakhstan’s OSCE chairmanship and conduct of this authoritative international organization’s Summit in December, 2010 in Astana. One of the country’s significant initiatives is the launch and development of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia – the Asian analogue of the OSCE. Kazakhstan’s creative activity during its chairmanship in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation – the leading organization of the Islamic world – has generated a positive feedback.

The country is also a recognized leader in the global antinuclear movement. As a whole, nowadays Kazakhstan actively co-operates with various countries-partners within the framework of a variety of international organizations, such as CIS, SOC, EurAsEC and etc.

In July, 2010 the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia was launched and since January 1, 2012 the Common Economic Space between these countries has started functioning. These unions are aimed at effective development of the states-participants’ economy and increase of the population’s living standard on the basis of a principle of free movement of goods, services, as well as financial and human capital through the borders of three countries.

The stable growth of all branches of the economy, the international recognition, the political stability serve as a basis for prosperity of the Kazakhstani society. Kazakhstan is a country that aspires to the future, honors its cultural traditions and successfully realizes the huge creative potential in the modern highly-competitive world.

General Information

Economic and geographic features of Kazakhstan (its vast territory, land-locked position, uneven spatial distribution of population clusters and of natural resources) make the transport component of the economy one of the most sizeable in the world and determine high dependence of the economy on the transport networks.

Being sandwiched between Europe and Asia, Kazakhstan boasts of a great transit potential, as there is no alternatives for Asian states to link to Russia and Europe. Relatively diverse landscape and availability of natural stone reserves allow unrestricted development of railways and automobile routes.

Automobile and railways routes account for a major share of the total above-ground transport routes (about 88.4 и 14 thousand km respectively). Total length of navigable waterways makes up 3.9 thousand km, and the total of air routes makes up 61 thousand km. Density per every 1000 km 2 stands at 5,1 km for railways, at 32,4 km for automobile routes with hard surface, and at 1,5 km for in-land navigable waterways.

At the current stage, there is a problem of poor condition of the transport sector fixed assets, obsolete infrastructure and technology. The share of transportation costs in the final cost of the goods makes up 8% and 11% for in-land railways and automobile traffic respectively, while in industrialized countries these indicators normally make up 4-4,5%. As a result, the transport burden on the economy exceeds that on the major industrialized nations twice on average. By cargo intensity index Kazakhstan’s economy is about five times less efficient, as transport component of every 1 USD of GDP makes no less than 9 ton-km, while in EU cargo intensity is less than 1 ton-km/dollar of GDP.

There are 4 international transport corridors that  cross the territory of Kazakhstan and formed on the basis of transport infrastructure existing in the country:

Northern Corridor of Trans-Asian Railway Main (TARM): Western Europe – China, Korean Peninsula and Japan via Russian and Kazakhstan (section Dostyk – Aktogai - Sayak – Mointy – Astana – Petropavlovsk (Presnogorkovskaya)).

Southern Corridor of TARM: South-Eastern Europe – China and South-Eastern Asia via Turkey, Iran, Central Asian states and Kazakhstan (section Dostyk – Aktogai – Almaty – Shu – Arys – Saryagash).

TRACECA: Eastern Europe – Central Asia via the Black Sea, Caucasus and the Caspian Sea (section Dostyk – Almaty – Aktau).

North-South: Northern Europe – Gulf States via Russia and Iran, with Kazakhstan’s participation in the following sections: sea port Aktau – Ural regions of Russia and Aktau – Atyrau.

Besides routes included in the transcontinental mains, Central Corridor of TARM should also be mentioned, as it is of great significance for regional transit in the direction Saryagash – Arys – Kandagach – Ozinki.

Corridors help significantly decrease distances in East-West connection, as well as cut down time of cargo delivery. Robust growth of China’s economy, in particularly of its western regions, boosts the demand for deliveries of a large specter of goods to global markets even today. At the same time, according to experts, current transit in Kazakhstan doesn’t fully employ the potential of the sector and that of the republic in general.Taking into account their geographical location, Kazakhstan, Russia and other CIS countries are considering the possibilities to attract significant part of all cargo transit between the EU and Asia which is worth more than $ 600 bln. (according to IMF).

Strategy of Transport Sector Development. Having attracted a critical mass of investment in a variety of sectors, Kazakhstan's infrastructure will continue to develop at a rapid pace. Therefore Kazakhstan Government has elaborated and approved Strategy of Transport Sector Development of up to 2015; the amount of investments required for construction of respective infrastructure within the 10 years will make up USD 26 billion. Ultimate goal of the Transport Strategy is to ensure progressive development of transport and communications complex in line with economic strategy of the state. The Strategy covers 2006-2015 and is supposed to be implemented in two stages: 1st stage – 2006-2011, 2nd stage – 2011-2015.

The Strategy implementation is expected to ensure bringing of the national transport system to a higher level, and forming of an optimum transport network. Financing of the infrastructure on the self-sufficiency principles will allow accommodating resources for its further sustainable development and maintenance at a high technical level.

Kazakhstan’s transport sector is bound to smoothly integrate into the global transport system. Transport infrastructure is supposed to be brought in compliance with the worldwide standards. All this will enable to sufficiently increase the share of transit traffic, the core of which will be container traffic. Transit traffic will ensure substantial revenues for the central budget and transport companies.

The Strategy covers railways, automobile, in-city passenger, air and water carriage, efficient performance of which to a great extent depends on respective policy pursued by the Government. The Strategy is intended to facilitate growth of trade ties between the West and the East by means of reliable and accessible transit routes. The Strategy provides for implementation of a customized model of meridian and latitude arrangement of the main routes and connecting legs.

The Strategy provides for modernization of already operating and construction of new "rectifying” routes and infrastructure facilities, with all transport fleets being renewed. Development of pipelines with due consideration of the O&G sector specificity is being effected within the framework of the State-run Program of Development of the Kazakh Sector of the Caspian Sea and within the Concept of Gas Sector Development up to 2015.

Investments. The transportation sector and telecommunications will need to grow in order to accommodate the needs of other industries. Growth here is likely to attract further investment in other sectors as these infrastructure changes improve the overall business climate. Although Kazakhstan has a basic transportation network and skilled labour force, much investment will be required in the years ahead. Infrastructural investment requirements through 2030 are expected to total more than $25 billion - and of this, 40% will be needed for railway transportation, 23% for highways and motor transport, 25% for telecommunications, and 12% for the air and water transport systems.

Railway system.

Railway services play significant role in the transport-communication network. It provides up to 70% of cargo and 50% of passenger turnover in the overall transport operations in Kazakhstan. Total mileage of the railways in Kazakhstan exceeds 14 thousands km connecting all regions of Kazakhstan and suitable for international transit transportation. Kazakhstan, located in the centre of Eurasia, possesses the great transit potential with the possibility to increase transit capacity via its infrastructure through 5 international railway transport corridors. The principal among them is Trans Kazakhstan Route project from China to Europe through Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey. One of the advantages of this route is that the width of railroad track will be in line with the international standards that will make unnecessary to change railroad wheels on borders. The length of the Kazakh part of the Route is 3070 km. The realisation of this $ 4 bln. project will allow to deliver cargo from the ports of China to the port of Rotterdam within 18 days resulting in significant cost savings for cargo transportation from Asia Pacific Region to the Western Europe. The two stage project with 15 years of implementation period is set to convey up to 110 mln tons of cargo a year through Kazakhstan.

Road  transport.

Kazakhstan possesses an automobile roads network with total length of more than 88,9 thousand km and 13 thousand km of the network have international significance linking the Asian and European motorways. For the last years a great attention was paid to major repair and reconstruction of existing and construction of new roads. Particularly 14,4 thousand km of roads were repaired.

In the past decade, Kazakhstan has become an active participant in world integration processes. An important element of economic integration is a good transport infrastructure, which provides domestic and transit transportation cargo and passengers, with a high level of service. Current requirements for the quality of roads and roadside service levels set for the road sector with new challenges. Road sector will face new challenges due to the contemporary requirements set for the road and roadside service.

Construction of the new transport corridor West Europe-West China will increase deliveries by trucks almost four times. Deliveries along this corridor are expected to grow from the current 900 thousand tons to 3.5 million tons. The Government supported the idea of financing of the feasibility study for the corridor. Apart from freights from China and Europe, the project will enable to attract transport flows from Central Asia. “The project calls for large investments, its implementation will be financed out of the budget and through external borrowing. The total project cost is 2.500.0 US$ millions. The Government invited the World Bank, ADB/JICA, EBRD, and IDB, to co-finance in parallel separate sections of the "West Europe-West China" corridor. In order to formalize this collaboration, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by the MOTC and all participating IFIs. The loan is 2,125.0 US$ millions.

The corridor running through Aktobe, Kzylorda and Shymkent will enable to cover not only Russia and China, but also South Asia countries via Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

There are 5 international road routes that pass through Kazakhstan, total 23.000 kilometers.

M-36 Highway: Almaty - Astana - Kostanay (continues to Chelyabinsk)
Almaty - Petropavlovsk to Omsk with the release of
M-38 Highway: Almaty - Semey - Pavlodar (continues to Omsk)
M-39 Highway: Almaty - Shymkent (continues to Tashkent)
M-32 Highway: Shymkent - Aktobe - Oral (continues to Samara)

Water transport

Considerable success has been achieved in water transport sector. After rails and roads, water transportation is the third most important element in the Kazakhstan’s transportation complex, with both state and private companies operating in this field. The Irtysh River and the Caspian Sea present excellent opportunities in this area.

Kazakhstan is the cargo generating State in the Caspian basin and the main exported cargoes are oil, metal, wheat and etc.

The main transit flow passes via reconstructed Aktau International Sea Commercial Port, which has a capacity for oil shipments up to 8 mln. tons, general and bulk cargo – 1,5 mln. tons, 24 thousand containers per year. The Aktau Port is considered as a strategic junction of one of the routes of TRASEKA corridor (Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia) and International Transport Corridor North-South which connects the North Europe with the South Asia and India.

Native shipping fleet represented by the shipping company JSC “NMSC “KazMorTransFlot”. The fleet of JSC “NMSC “KazMorTransFlot” consists of 16 ships, including 3 oil tankers with the capacity 12.000 tons, 8 launching barges with the capacity 3.600 tons and 5 tugs.

River navigation is carried out in the basin of Irtysh, Ural, Ily rivers and on Balkhash Lake. In 2004 the construction of Shulba sluice in Eastern Kazakhstan was completed and resulted in reopening of navigation on Irtish river between China, Kazakhstan and Russian with up to 3 mln. tons cargo transportation capacity.

Air transit.

Air transit corridors of Kazakhstan are attractive for the flights of foreign airlines between Europe and the South-East Asia which allows shorten significantly the flight path. The development of regions, considerably resulted in the increase of needs in regional transportation, as well as the rise of population’s income promote growth of necessity in flights to near and far destinations. The extent of air routes of Kazakhstan is 54 thousand km, including international routes – 49 thousand km. There are 22 airports in Kazakhstan for air services including the Astana and Almaty international airports and 14 airports provide services to international transportation on a short-term basis. Recently two new international terminals in Astana and Almaty were put into operation.

Modernization of radio and air-navigation equipment enabled to increase the number of international air corridors up to 72. Transit traffic via the airspace of Kazakhstan is carried out by 18 countries of Europe, Russia, South-East and Central Asia. 66 airlines operate in Kazakhstan, including Lufthansa, KLM, British Airways, Turkish Airlines and others. Kazakhstan itself is very convenient for international flight connections between West and East. 729 aircrafts (620 aircrafts and 109 helicopters) were registered in the State register of civil aircraft of the Republic of Kazakhstan.


During the past years Kazakhstan intensifies its activity in airspace. The creation of high technological industries in airspace in cooperation with Russia resulted in realisation of joint space programs and projects which were specified as a top priority of the Strategy on Industrial and Innovation Development of Kazakhstan until 2015. The agreement on development of cooperation on effective use of “Baikonur” space centre and creation of “Baiterek” rocket-space complex was signed with Russia. Great importance was given to construction of the first Kazakhstan’s geostationary communication satellite.

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