Transport in Kazakhstan

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The vast territory of Kazakhstan spans across 2,700,000 km2 (1,000,000 sq mi); the population density is low in Kazakhstan, and the centers of industry and agriculture are spread out and remote from world markets. Therefore, the need for efficient transportation in Kazakhstan is great.

Kazakhstan is committed to regional infrastructure development.[1] According to the Kazakhstan Ambassador to the U.S., Kairat Umarov, Kazakhstan invested $18 billion in construction of airports, highways, and railroads in 2014.[1]


Total: Railways provide 68% of all cargo and passenger traffic to over 57% of the country. There are 15,333 km (9,527 mi) in common carrier service, excluding industrial lines.[2]

Broad Gauge: 15,333 km (9,527 mi) of 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 2732 in) gauge, 4,000 km (2,500 mi) electrified, in 2012.[2]

Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) is the national railway company. KTZ cooperates with French loco manufacturer Alstom in developing Kazakhstan's railway infrastructure. Alstom has more than 600 staff and two joint ventures with KTZ and its subsidiary in Kazakhstan.[3] In July 2017, Alstom opened its first locomotive repairing center in Kazakhstan, it is the only repairing center in Central Asia and the Caucasus.[4]

As the Kazakhstani rail system was designed during the Soviet era, rail routes were designed ignoring inter-Soviet borders, based on the needs of Soviet planning; this has caused anomalies, such as the route from Oral to Aktobe passing briefly through Russian territory. It also means that routes might not suit modern-day Kazakhstani needs.[5][citation needed]

Astana Nurly Zhol railway station, the most modern railway station in Kazakhstan, was opened in Nur-Sultan on 31 May 2017; the opening of the station coincided with the start of the Expo 2017 international exhibition. According to Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ), the 120,000-square-metre (12 ha) station is expected to be used by 54 trains a day and has capacity to handle 35,000 passengers a day.[6]

Railway links with adjacent countries[edit]

The strategy of transport development in Kazakhstan until 2015 is to build 1,600 km (990 mi) of new electrified and 2,700 km (1,700 mi) of existing railway stations.[citation needed]

The Khorgos Gateway dry port is one of Kazakhstan's primary dry ports for handling trans-Eurasian trains, which travel more than 9,000 km between China and Europe; the Khorgos Gateway dry port is surrounded by Khorgos Eastern Gate SEZ that officially commenced operations in December 2016.[7]





  • Proposals to eliminate break of gauge at Druzhba-Alashankou by converting the Kazakhstan main line to European gauge.[citation needed]


Towns served by rail[edit]

Rapid transit and tram systems[edit]

Metro station in Almaty.


There is a small 8.56 km (5.32 mi) metro system in Almaty. Second and third metro lines are planned in the future; the second line would intersect with the first line at Alatau and Zhibek Zholy stations.[10]

In May 2011, the construction of the second phase of the Almaty Metro line 1 began; the general contractor is Almatymetrokurylys. Currently more than 300 m (980 ft) of tunnels on the extension project have been excavated; the extension includes five new stations, and will connect the downtown area of Almaty with Kalkaman in the suburbs. Its length will be 8.62 km (5.36 mi).[11]

The construction is divided into three phases; the first phase (the current phase) will be the addition of two stations: Sairan and Moscow, a length of 2.7 km (1.7 mi).[11] For more details see: Almaty Metro.

There was a tram system of 10 lines which operated from 1937 to 2015.[12]


The Astana Metro system is under construction.

It's been a long time coming and the project was abandoned at one point in 2013,[13] but an agreement was signed on 7 May 2015 for the project to go ahead.[14]


The system was opened between 1959 and 1978, and the tram was a popular form of transport in Oskemen/Ust-Kamenogorsk until its closure in 2018.[15] At its peak it had six routes, but in the end it had four routes in operation, it had a fleet of 50 working tram cars.[16]


There is an 86 km (53 mi) tram network, which began service in 1965 with, As of 2012, 20 regular and three special routes. The network has a 60% share of the local public transport market, its fleet of 115 trams are due to be replaced and in 2012, the city announced plans to purchase 100 new trams.[17]


There are two tram lines in this city.[18]


Al-Farabi street, Almaty, Esentai Tower

Kazakhstan has a road network stretching over 96,000 km (60,000 mi), most of which is in need of modernization and repair, it is, however, notable for containing the easterly terminus of European route E40, which contains the most easterly section of the Euro Route network.

  • Total: 189,000 kilometres (117,000 mi) (2002)[19]
  • Paved: 108,100 km (67,200 mi) (2002)
  • Unpaved: 80,900 km (50,300 mi) (2002)

It is stated in the CIA Factbook that Kazakhstan has a total road network of 93,612 km (58,168 mi) which is made up of: paved, 84,100 km (52,300 mi) and unpaved, 9,512 km (5,910 mi) (2008).[2]

As of 2011, there were 3,264,400 registered cars.[20]

As of 2017, there were 3 845 301 registered cars, total 4 425 770 unit of autotransport by information «Казинформ»(Kazinform [1]).[21]

Five international routes pass through Kazakhstan, totaling 23,000 km (14,000 mi); these highways are:

In 2009, the country began the construction of the "Western Europe - Western China" highway, which will be completed by 2013[clarification needed]. The total length of the road will be 8,445 km (5,247 mi), of which 2,787 km (1,732 mi) will be in Kazakhstan, (Aktobe, Kyzylorda, South Kazakhstan, Zhambyl and Almaty oblasts); the thickness of the asphalt and concrete pavement will be 80 cm (31 in), and the expected lifespan of the highway will be 25 years, without a major overhaul, and the maximum speed limit 120 km/h (75 mph). The project includes a number of bridges over rivers, road maintenance facilities, bus stop areas, avtopavilony, cattle trails, and electronic signage. Simultaneously with the construction of this highway, roads will be repaired and built in areas along its route.[22][23][24]


The motorway network in Kazakhstan is rather underdeveloped, mainly due to the low population density in the country, which doesn't require wider roads on long distances; the following are the only existing multi-lane, double carriage roads in Kazakhstan:

  • A1 - Runs from Nur-Sultan to Shchuchinsk. It further continues as the A1 two-lane highway to Kokshetau. Motorway length: 250 km (160 mi).
  • A2 - Runs from Almaty to a point past Uzynagash. It further continues as the A2 two-lane highway to Shymkent. Motorway length: 58 km (36 mi).
  • A2 - Other four-lane portion runs from Shymkent to Zhibek Zholy, on the border with Uzbekistan. Length: 100 km (62 mi).
  • A3 - Runs from Almaty to Kapshagay. It further continues as the A3 two-lane highway to Oskemen. Motorway length: 82 km (51 mi).

Total: 490 km


Condensate, 658 km (409 mi); gas, 12,317 km (7,653 mi); oil, 11,201 km (6,960 mi); refined products, 1,095 km (680 mi); water, 1,465 km (910 mi) (2010)[2]

Waterways and waterborne transportation[edit]

There are 4,000 km (2,500 mi) of waterways on the Syrdariya (Syr Darya), 80%, and Ertis (Irtysh) rivers, (2010)[2]

Ports and harbors[edit]

Caspian Sea[edit]

  • Aqtau (Shevchenko) - railhead 1,524 mm (5 ft)
  • Atyrau (Gur'yev) - railhead 1,524 mm

On rivers[edit]

Merchant Marine[edit]

Total: 119 vessels as of 2017

By type: Four general cargo, ten petroleum tankers, 105 other.[25]


Kazakhstan has a total of 97 airports (2012)[2]However, it is quoted as having a total of 449 airports in (2001)[19]

The large area of the country and the associated long distances makes air travel a very important component in domestic travel.

Airports - with paved runways[edit]

total: 64[2]

  • over 3,047 metres (9,997 ft): 10
  • 2,438–3,047 metres (7,999–9,997 ft): 25
  • 1,524–2,437 metres (5,000–7,995 ft): 16
  • 914–1,523 metres (2,999–4,997 ft): 5
  • under 914 metres (2,999 ft): 8 (2012)

Airports - with unpaved runways[edit]

total: 33[2]

  • over 3,047 metres (9,997 ft): 5
  • 2,438–3,047 metres (7,999–9,997 ft): 7
  • 1,524–2,437 metres (5,000–7,995 ft): 3
  • 914–1,523 metres (2,999–4,997 ft): 5
  • under 914 metres (2,999 ft): 13 (2012)


Total: 3 (2012)[2]


Air Astana Airbus-320 aircraft at Aktau Airport.

European Commission blacklisted all Kazakh carriers in 2009, with a sole exception of Air Astana. Since then, Kazakhstan was consistently taking measures to modernize and revamp its air safety oversight. Thus, in 2016 the European air safety authorities removed all Kazakh airlines from blacklist and there was “sufficient evidence of compliance” with international standards by Kazakh airlines and the Civil Aviation Committee.[26]

Air Astana - most popular Kazakhstani Air operator

Air Astana (Эйр Астана) is the principal airline and the flag carrier of the Republic of Kazakhstan, based in Almaty, Kazakhstan,[27] it operates scheduled domestic and international services on 56 routes from its main hub, Almaty International Airport, and from its 2 secondary hubs, Astana International Airport and Atyrau Airport. It is a joint venture between Kazakhstan's sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna (51%), and BAE Systems PLC (49%), it was incorporated in October 2001, and started commercial flights on 15 May 2002. At the 2012 World Airline Awards held at Farnborough Airshow in the UK, Air Astana was named the Best Airline in Central Asia & India.[28]

Qazaq Air - New airline Qazaq Air was founded in 2015.

The New Silk Road[edit]

Kazakhstan is actively involved in the New Silk Road initiative, which is an infrastructure project expected to significantly accelerate and reduce the cost of goods delivery from China to Europe through Central Asia.[29]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "A Conversation with H.E. Kairat Umarov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-07-09.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency". Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  3. ^ "Loco manufacturer obtains first IRIS certification in Kazakhstan".
  4. ^ "Alstom inaugurated first locomotive repairing centre in Kazakhstan".
  5. ^ "China's one-track mind in Kazakhstan". Policy Forum. 2018-02-13. Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  6. ^ "Astana Nurly Zhol station inaugurated".
  7. ^ Shepard, Wade (2017-02-20). "Khorgos: The New Silk Road's Central Station Comes To Life".
  8. ^ "KAZAKHSTAN - Temir Zholy". Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  9. ^ "ENRC to develop and operate the Zhetigen-Khorgos railway line between Kazakhstan and China - International Mining". 20 May 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  10. ^ "". Archived from the original on 25 April 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Алматыметро :: Главная страница". Archived from the original on 15 August 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  12. ^ "Subways and Trams In Kazakstan: Almaty's Metro". Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  13. ^ "No Light Rail Transport for Astana". Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  14. ^ UK, DVV Media. "Astana light rail framework agreement signed". Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  15. ^ "В Усть-Каменогорске полностью остановили движение трамваев" [The tram system in Ust-Kamenogorsk completely ceased operation] (in Russian). Informburo. 2018-03-12. Retrieved 2018-03-15.
  16. ^ "Усть-Каменогорский трамвай :: Введение". Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  17. ^ Pavlodar
  18. ^ " - главный сайт Темиртау". Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  19. ^ a b "Transportation - Kazakhstan - infrastructure". Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  20. ^ "В некоторых регионах Казахстана сохранится жара". Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  21. ^ "Усть-Каменогорск Всё больше". Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  23. ^ "Новости Казахстана - свежие, актуальные, последние новости об о всем". Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  24. ^ "Западная Европа - Западный Китай Международный Транзитный коридор". Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  25. ^ "The World Factbook". 7 June 2018. Kazakhstan. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  26. ^ "Sustained safety effort pulled Kazakhstan off EU blacklist".
  27. ^ "Head Office Archived 2012-07-17 at" Air Astana. Retrieved on 21 December 2010. "Registered office 4A, Zakarpatskaya Street, Almaty, 050039, Kazakhstan"
  28. ^ "Air Astana named Best Airline in Central Asia & India". The Gazette of Central Asia. Satrapia. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  29. ^ "Kazakhstan turns geography to advantage as China builds a "New Silk Road"".

 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website