One of the bottlenecks of the Chinese-European transit in the Kazakh Dostyk on the border with China has significantly expanded: the terminal of the Kazakh PTC Holding in Dostyk doubled its capacity to 320 thousand. TEU. So far, the main part of these capacities loads the transit of containers through Russia by routes of the Russian-Kazakh-Belarusian OTLC EPA. Market participants note that in the first months of the year there was a decline in transit, reaching a minimum in April, but see its recovery in May, including the growth of container shipments from China to the Russian Federation and in the opposite direction.
Kazakh PTC Holding launched the second stage of the Dostyk TransTerminal terminal at the Dostyk station, where there is a congestion from the narrow Chinese gauge to the wide Russian, increasing its capacity from 160 thousand. to 320 thousand. TEU. The first stage was launched in July 2021. The main partner of the holding was OTLK EPA – JV of Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh railways, developing container transit Europe-China-Europe through the territories of the shareholder countries. In 2021, OTLC accounted for more than 90% of terminal transhipment – 96.5 thousand. TEU, another 10 thousand. TEU overpassed the structures of PTC Holding itself.
The second stage, as well as the railway junction built by the company and bypassing the Dostyk station, will allow the terminal to handle not six but 12 trains per day with the prospect of increasing to 15.
According to PTC Holding Chairman Timur Karabayev, a month after the first stage was put into operation the company realized that it was not enough and the volume of trans-shipment from track to track would grow. At the same time, 2022 began with a decrease in volumes. According to the general director of OTLK EPA Alexey Groma, «a certain correction» is visible now. «But, let’s just say that we do not have a single client who would completely «cover» this story,” he said “K.” There is an objective decrease, and it is due to the transport from Europe to China. But there is a feeling that in April we have found the bottom, and now even on the first two decades of May we see that quietly the volume begins to recover». Timur Karabayev agrees with him. It is clear that we set ourselves forecasts for 2022, but it began with a small decline, he said “K”. First it was the Chinese New Year, then the pandemic began again, as a result in April we shrank in volumes, but now, in May, we see that the market began to recover and more begins to gather momentum».
Timur Karabayev notes the growth of transport to Russia this year. When we launched the first line of the terminal last year, the first trains transited to Europe, he said. The same year marked a big growth of freight transportation directly to Russia. Today, a very large number of trains go to the Moscow Node, and the trend of increase continues».
The second difference, he said, is that now the cargo went not only to China-Europe, but also from Russia to China.
«There is a project on machine kits, now there is a project on business wood»,- said Timur Karabayev. The First Deputy Director of the Almaty branch of LLP «KTZ-Cargo Transport» Nurzhan Kurmanaliuly confirmed the interest of Russians to export timber to China through Dostyk. Now we are negotiating with the Chinese side to trans-ship the forest at this terminal in containers. There seems to be an understanding of the Chinese side in this matter, and I think that in the near future we will be reloading containers with wood,- he said. Especially since the forest now comes a lot from the Russian Federation: today we are almost three units per day leasing forests on a wide gauge China».
As “B” wrote on May 17, in March, against the background of special operations in Ukraine and the closure of the European market, Russian timber industry reoriented supplies to China, and it was Kazakhstan that became the main transit route.
At the same time, market participants do not believe in the prospect of closing the EU border for rail transit.
Frankly speaking, they will close down altogether – this is not a very realistic scenario,- says Timur Karabayev.- Stopping the transport artery is bad not only for Russia and the CIS countries, but also for Europe. Today, BMW, Mercedes, Audi sets are going to China in the OTLC service». It is almost impossible to stop railway communication, he believes. And Alexey Grom says that «does not believe in apocalyptic forecasts».