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ASTANA: Kazakhstan multimodal rail operator Temir Zholy Express (KTZE) is to provide DHL Global Forwarding with additional block train services linking China and Europe.

The two companies say their new partnership will develop additional commercial rail services along the South Silk Road trade route to Europe via Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan Temir Zholy Express Citing European Commission data, DHL says the volume of China-EU trade is more than €1 billion a day, making the route the second-largest economic relationship in the world.

The KTZ group expects annual trade between China and Europe to reach US$1.2 trillion. According to Sanzhar Yelyubayev, KTZ Express president, the company is looking to establish a central Asia logistics hub in Astana in order to derive up to eight percent of the projected trade flow.

"The partnership with DHL will not only accelerate our pace towards achieving this goal but will also help us serve multinational corporations with regional needs in these high-potential markets. KTZ Express will work hand in hand with DHL to further develop end-to-end logistics solutions via rail and multimodal solutions in this part of the world," he added.

According to the World Bank, in 2013 Kazakhstan exports totaled US$82.5 billion while imports were US$48.9 billion. Italy was the country's leading export destination at US$15.2 billion followed by China (US$14.3 billion); Netherlands US$9.8 billion); Russia (US$5.8 billion); and France (US$5.3 billion).

Steve Huang, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding China commented: "We have witnessed tremendous growth in rail freight between Asia and Europe over the last few years; and we see a lot of growth potential in many intermediate trade hubs such as Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan's own economic development stands to benefit significantly from strong infrastructural links to China and the EU – its two largest trading partners. Transportation alone makes up more than 10 percent of the country's services exports."

As part of its agreement with KTZE, DHL will provide logistics support that includes temperature-controlled containers for the new rail services.

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