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RIGA, Latvia: April 05, 2018. Kazakhstan and Latvia have agreed to develop logistics links following a meeting between Kaspars Ozolins, State Secretary of the Latvia Ministry of Transport, and Kazakhstan first vice minister for Investments and Development Roman Sklyar (right of picture).

Latvia and Kazahkstan rail linksHighlighting the growing importance of rail container traffic between China and Europe, the two countries have agreed to cooperate in air transport, rail container freight transport, international road transport and transport logistics.

Latvia sees Kazakhstan as a strategic partner in developing its 'Baltika-Transit' rail container service while the Central Asia country wants Latvian companies to invest in its Khorgos Special Economic Zone (SEZ) inland rail port that has been the rail interchange between China and Europe for the past four years.

In 2017 the volume of two-way freight traffic between the countries totaled 218,570 tons – up 6,110 tons from the previous year.

Last month DP World announced it would acquire a 51 percent stake in the Khorgos SEZ, and 49 percent in the Port of Akatu SEZ on the Caspian Sea, following the signing of agreements with the Kazakhstan government.

The company has been providing management services at Aktau, Kazakhstan’s main cargo and bulk terminal on the Caspian, and at the Khorgos SEZ to handle containers, bulk and general cargo.

“Kazakhstan is an important link in the New Silk Route and in the development of the Belt and Road Initiative,” said DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem. “Focusing on soft and hard infrastructure development that supports multimodal transport links will be key in realizing its potential as a transit corridor as well as boosting its own economy.”

Kazakhstan’s GDP is forecast to rise 3.8 percent this year, up 0.7 percent on an earlier forecast. The oil-based economy grew 4.0 percent in 2017 to US$163.49 billion and is expected to reach US$178.46 billion in 2018.

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