On January 29, Minister of Transport Marat Karabayev revealed plans to give 22 airports in Kazakhstan to European investors for management. The announcement was made during the Global Gateway Investors Forum for the European Union – Central Asia Transport Connectivity in Brussels, QazMonitor reports citing the press service of the Ministry of Transport.
Karabayev highlighted the impressive growth in cargo turnover, emphasizing a doubling of transit traffic with the People's Republic of China (PRC) by the end of 2023. Additionally, the overall volume of transit increased by a remarkable 43%. With these developments, he proposed positioning Kazakhstan's sites as the primary and most sustainable transit route connecting Europe and Asia.
During the presentation, the Minister outlined a comprehensive plan for the next five years, aiming to attract 40 billion euros in investments to implement major infrastructure projects in the transportation sector.
He stressed the need to reconstruct transit corridors spanning 4.7 thousand kilometers and repair an equivalent number of roads, forming the backbone of the Transportation Master Plan (TMTM). To fund these projects, Karabayev suggested leveraging the Global Gateway initiative and encouraging European contracting organizations to participate in the large-scale road construction project in Kazakhstan.
In the railway sector, the plan includes the construction of new main lines covering a length of 1,300 kilometers and the modernization of existing infrastructure. These initiatives are designed to significantly increase the capacity between Asia and the European Union.
Turning attention to civil aviation, the Minister proposed transferring 22 airports in Kazakhstan to investor management, to develop the industry and establish a Europe–Asia transit hub.
To bolster the maritime fleet and create a container hub in the port of Aktau, investors are offered 171 hectares for the development of terminal facilities. The possibility of transferring sea ports Aktau and Kuryk to trust management on ship-or-pay terms was also mentioned.
Concluding his speech, Marat Karabayev invited European organizations and companies to participate in the New Silkway forum scheduled for June in Astana. He further proposed organizing an investment forum in September this year to foster a partnership between the EU and Kazakhstan in the transport industry.