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New Silk Road riches secures DP World an audience with Kazakhstan President

New Silk Road riches secures DP World an audience with Kazakhstan President
An audience with Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev has underscored DP World’s increasing influence in the emergence of the world’s largest landlocked country as a pivotal player on the “New Silk Road”.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, group chairman and ceo of the Dubai-headquartered terminal operator, met President Nazarbayev on the side lines of last week’s St Petersburg International Economic Forum. Top of the agenda was the proposed escalation of DP World’s involvement in the development of the inland Khorgos Eastern Gate Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and the Port of Aktau on the western shores of the oil and gas rich republic.

Nazarbayev described DP World as an important strategic partner for Kazakhstan, highlighting the company’s expertise in helping his country build its multi-modal transport system capability. By assisting in the seamless movement of cargo by connecting air, rail, road and sea, DP World has helped the Kazakhstan Government connect the dots in its strategically vital role on the New Silk Road.

DP World signed an agreement with Kazakhstan’s national railway company, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ), in November 2013 to provide management advisory services for the development of the Khorgos SEZ, which includes an inland container port. It also entered a similar agreement under a separate contract with the Port of Aktau, tasked with revitalising the terminal into the leading gateway destination for cargo on the Caspian Sea, the largest enclosed body of water on earth.

“We already have a fruitful relationship with the government of Kazakhstan that we are looking to build on and will work with them on projects which support the flow of goods and enable trade across the region…it remains an attractive market for us with huge long term growth prospects,” said Bin Sulayem.

The New Silk Road is the world’s largest economic corridor with a combined population of 4.4bn and economic output of $21trn, representing 40% of global GDP. Given those eye-popping numbers, it is hardly surprising that Bin Sulayem acknowledged DP World’s desire to foster new joint ventures similar to those in Kazakhstan in other locations around the world.

Kazakhstan, Russia, and more broadly the New Silk Road countries are key markets for DP World as are Kazakhstan and Russia’s three Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) partners, Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyz.

“Trade corridors such as the New Silk Road [the overland rail transport route linking China, Russia’s far east and Europe via Kazakhstan] connect supply chains capable of remarkable global economic importance and as a global trade enabler, investment in infrastructure and developing that capability is part of our focus.

“We look at trade and logistics solutions, transport links and connectivity to the hinterland and how we can help improve efficiency for the benefit of economies.”

The Khorgos SEZ is strategically located on the border with China, the initiator of the bold New Silk Road alliance which is built on two key foundations, the land-based “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the ocean-going “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” and is part of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative.

With a portfolio of 77 operating marine and inland terminals in 40 countries across six continents, DP World has described trade and investment opportunities in the New Silk Road as “immense” given that the route connects three continents and 65 countries, connecting the vibrant East Asia economic circle at one end to the developed European economic circle at the other.

The Eurasian Economic Union, meanwhile, offers a combined market of 180m people and a total GDP of almost US$6trn. 

“From our experience, New Silk Road countries need to continue developing trade centric solutions,” said Bin Sulayem.

“They [need to] bring together all the ingredients required to encourage trade – from marine and inland terminals, free zones, customs and logistics underpinned by smart technology, to create a thriving business environment. “



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