POST Online Media Lite Edition


Border regions of Russia, Kazakhstan seeking to build port on Irtysh River to develop trade

Christian Fernsby |
The authorities of two border regions - Russia's Omsk Region and Kazakhstan's Pavlodar Region - are holding talks on the construction of a small cargo port on the Irtysh River, the press service for the Omsk regional government said in a statement.

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Omsk Region Governor Alexander Burkov and Pavlodar Region Akim (Head of Administration) Abylkair Skakov on Wednesday discussed the issue of increasing freight traffic on the Irtysh River.

The idea of building a port in Kazakhstan's territory is being discussed, and investors from Omsk are ready to invest from 70 million to 100 million rubles in the construction of a quay wall.

According to Burkov, implementing this project will reduce costs for freight forwarders by 30%.

"An agreement between the Omsk and Pavlodar Regions has been in effect since 2015. In this period, we have already built strong cooperative ties between the regions.

"Together with the akim, we are considering the construction of a small cargo port to load goods from suppliers in the Pavlodar Region and their transportation on the Irtysh," Burkov was quoted as saying after meeting with his Kazakh counterpart.

Currently, lumber and timber products from the Omsk Region are delivered to Kazakhstan via river transport. In turn, crushed stone, sand and gravel mixes and salt from Kazakhstan are delivered to the Russian region via the Irtysh. The annual volume of cargo transportation is about 150,000 tonnes.

For his part, the head of Pavlodar Region promised to assist in the implementation of the project.

"We practically have the only river port left in Kazakhstan, and indeed, we could transport much more cargo via the waterway. It is both faster and more economical. In recent years, due to objective and subjective reasons, cargo traffic volumes have been decreasing, but at one point we were looking at half a million and a million tons of cargo.

"I believe that there is great business potential here for both areas. Technical issues and barriers in this matter will be resolved jointly at the level of regional authorities and, if necessary, with the support of central authorities," the press service quoted Skakov as saying.

Previously, Burkov repeatedly indicated the region's interest in organizing a system of river cargo transport both aimed at the Arctic route - towards the Northern Sea Route, and to the south - to Kazakhstan and China. In particular, in the forthcoming navigation season the Omsk Region intends to organize an experimental voyage through Kazakhstan to China.

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