ASTANA – Estonia is pondering organizing cargo shipments between Europe and China via Kazakhstan, the CEO of the Port of Tallinn said on Monday.
“We’re considering the shipment of merchandise between Europe and Asia through the port of Tallinn on the Baltic Sea and the port of Lianyungang on the Yellow Sea,” Ain Kaljurand said.
The possibility “is feasible given that the national railroad company of Kazakhstan, KazakhstanTemirZholy, is building its own terminal at the Chinese port of Lianyungang,” he said during a visit to Astana.
Kazakhstan and China signed an accord regarding joint use of the port of Lianyungang for the shipment of cargo during the visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Kazakhstan in 2013.
The parties agreed that China would provide to Kazakhstan a section of the port’s territory for the construction of a cargo terminal.
Kaljurand said that “if the rate is favorable for transport, the traffic between Estonia and Kazakhstan will become a reality.”
He also added that “the port of Tallinn, one of the most important on the Baltic Sea, is (operating) very much below its capacity.”
He emphasized that seven years ago “the transport of export products from Kazakhstan, such as cereals, coal, petroleum and its derivatives was made through this port, however, it has slacked off considerably in recent years.”
“In December of last year, the transport of coal from Kazakhstan through the port of Tallinn was 40,000 to 50,000 tons, while seven years ago, this quantity was five times greater. The handling of grain was 1.5 million tons, but today it’s zero,” Kaljurand said.
Experts say the use of Kazakhstan’s transport infrastructure could allow China to provide goods to Europe in just two weeks, while transport by other routes requires about two months.