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New container hub in Aktau eyes investments from MSC, Maersk and PSA

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Kazakhstan’s Aktau Port, a strategic part of China’s Belt and Road initiative, will establish a container hub that aims to attract investments from MSC, Maersk and PSA International.

Aktau is Kazakhstan’s only port along the Caspian Sea, situated on the sea’s east coast.

Kazakh president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has plans to develop Aktau to elevate annual throughput to 100,000 TEU and early this month had signed an agreement with PSA to work on the hub. Kazakhstan and PSA have pledged to work together in transport and logistics, and the digitisation of customs and trade processes. PSA also expressed interest in further development of transportation via the Trans-Caspian international transport route.

The announcement comes two weeks after the start of a pilot phase of a freight train between China and Finland via Aktau.

On 10 May, Finland’s Nurminen Logistics launched its first full-length container service from China to Central Europe. The containers are railed through Kazakhstan to Aktau, across the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan and then railed to Georgia to be shipped to Central Europe. The service was developed in response to international sanctions against Russia after the latter’s invasion of Ukraine.

Further, China Railway also launched a new connection to Europe on 19 April, via Aktau. The trains depart Xi’an, heading west through the Khorgos dry port. Cargo will be transhipped at Aktau. After crossing the Caspian Sea, the goods are railed from Baku port in Azerbaijan to the Georgian port of Poti. From Poti, the cargoes will be shipped on ferries to the Romanian port of Constanta, passing through Eastern Europe and on to Mannheim, Germany.

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