KAZAKHSTAN Railways (KTZ) reports that freight traffic on its network set a new record of over 252 billion tonne-km in 2022, up 5.2% on the year before. Over the last 20 years the amount of freight carried by KTZ has doubled.

KTZ says that the new record was due to “a change in logistics,” an increase in the distance that consignments were moved and a rise in the quantity of mining and metallurgical products being shipped for export.

Freight traffic between Kazakhstan and China also set a new record of 23 million tonnes in 2022, up 14% from 2021. Export traffic from Kazakhstan increased by 13% and imports by 9% year on year.

To meet increased demand, KTZ says that a feasibility study is now being developed for the construction of third railway between the two countries, running from Ayagoz in Kazakhstan to Bakhty near the Chinese border.

Of the 250 million tonnes of freight carried by KTZ in 2022, hard coal accounted for 106.6 million tonnes, an increase of 600,000 tonnes on the year before. Domestic coal traffic amounted to 74.4 million tonnes.

In 2022 grain traffic reached a total of 10 million tonnes, 12% up on the year before. Export grain traffic was up 18% at 8 million tonnes. KTZ carried 3 million tonnes of milled products, up 20% on 2021.

During the last three months of 2022, KTZ had to contend with a sharp increase in demand for grain transport when a record 1.5 million tonnes of grain equivalent were carried. This was due to the imposition of export quotas on wheat and flour between April and September.