A dry port located in the Khorgos-Eastern Gate Special Economic Zone near the China-Kazakhstan border is becoming a large transportation and logistics hub.
The 294-hectare dry port is only 15 kilometers away from the Khorgos Port in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on the border of the two countries. Cargo trains leaving the inland port can reach Lianyungang in east China's Jiangsu Province in five days and arrive in Europe in around nine to ten days.
"Khorgos Gateway: Where East Meets West," a BBC documentarybroadcasted in May, shows how the dry port rises as a trade passageway along the Silk Road Economic Belt, according to Kazinform News Agency.
Because China and Kazakhstan have different track gauges, Chinese freight trains stop at the border and have their cargos reloaded to locally-gauged trains to make the onward journey possible. It takes about 47 minutes to transfer the cargos.
Kazakhstan and China's railways were connected in December 2012. Currently, about 65 trains carrying a total of 6,200 standard containers pass the dry port every month.
On May 15, China COSCO Shipping Corporation and Jiangsu Lianyungang Port Co. signed a deal with Kazakhstan's national railway company to buy 49 percent stake of the dry port.
Khorgos has long been an important passageway between China and the Eurasian continent ever since the ancient Silk Road era. In August 1992, China and Kazakhstan agreed to open it to third countries. In September 2004, the two countries signed an agreement to jointly build a cross-border cooperation center at Khorgos. In April 2012, the China-Kazakhstan Khorgos International Border Cooperation Center came into operation.
Khorgos, known as an important transit point along the new Silk Road, directly connects 27 Chinese cities and 11 European cities. Cargos are transported from China's inland cities to the port and then continue their journey to destinations in the Eurasian continent.
Khorgos customs' statistics indicate the China-Kazakhstan Khorgos International Border Cooperation Center exported 26 million tons of freight in 2016, and the total foreign trade value stood at US$800 million, up 10 percent year-on-year. And more than 5 million people passed the center, up 36 percent year-on-year.
Office buildings, hotels, shops and modern infrastructure spring from the desert, and the convenient transportation and huge business potential attract more businessmen to Khorgos. According to the government's plan, a new city with about 100,000 residents will be built near the center in the future.
The World Bank published the report--The Eurasian connection: supply-chain efficiency along the modern silk route through Central Asia. The report points out that railway transportation along the Silk Road is of tremendous value due to its high speed and low cost.
Construction of the new port also creates more jobs. 99 percent of the employees working on the dry port project are Kazakhstan nationals. Moreover, construction of the Khorgos-Eastern Gate Special Economic Zone will create 25,000 jobs for local residents.