Lithuania and Kazakhstan seek to increase the volume of bilateral trade through much closer cooperation in the fields of transport and logistics, according to Marius Skuodis, the Minister of Transport and Communications, who is currently visiting Kazakhstan. During the opening of the Lithuania-Kazakhstan Business Forum in Almaty, the Minister encouraged the entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan to make more active use of the possibilities for cooperation, as well as to increase the opportunities for cargo transportation by rail and through Klaipėda Seaport.
“Both Lithuania and Kazakhstan are geographically at the crossroads of transport, so it is necessary to make use of and exploit them. Cargo transportation by road, rail and sea, transportation of raw materials from Kazakhstan to Lithuania, digitalisation of the fields of transport and logistics, direct flights between the two countries are all relevant issues on the bilateral agenda of Lithuania and Kazakhstan,” said Minister Skuodis.
The Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania emphasized that Kazakhstan is Lithuania’s most important economic partner in the Central Asian region. The volume of bilateral trade is steadily growing: In 2021, compared to 2020, the turnover of goods between Lithuania and Kazakhstan almost doubled and amounted to approx. EUR 1.5 billion.
As the countries celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations, there is still a lot of new and untapped potential for strengthening ties between them. At the bilateral Business Forum, the heads of the Lithuanian and Kazakh confederations of industrialists and carriers’ associations signed memorandums of cooperation, which provide for the establishment and strengthening of mutually beneficial partnerships, the promotion of joint ventures, and the creation of an effective mechanism for the implementation of cross-border agreements.
“Kazakhstan is among the twenty most important trading partners of Lithuania in terms of trade itself, but so far we have not exhausted all the possibilities of this market. In addition, this partner of ours can become an alternative solution for supply routes from China, so it is necessary to strengthen cooperation in the fields of transport and logistics. In the light of global developments in the region, it is becoming clear that we can become an important part of the supply chain between East and West. I am very pleased that during this official visit, special attention was paid to transport and logistics issues and cooperation in these sectors,” said Vidmantas Janulevičius, the President of the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists.
During the visit to Kazakhstan, in the meetings with the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Roman Sklyar, the Minister of Industry and Infrastructural Development Kairbek Uskenbayev, the Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry Baghdat Mussin, the Chairman of the Board of Kazakhstan Railways Nurlan Sauranbayev and other high officials of the country, Minister Skuodis discussed the issues of strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries.
According to Egidijus Lazauskas, the Chief Executive Officer of ‘Lietuvos Geležinkeliai’, the company continues to diversify its activities and is proactively looking for new directions. Activities to the West are being expanded and new relations are being established.
“We are taking another step towards finding new markets — we are talking with our partners in Kazakhstan about the creation of an international railway corridor from Kazakhstan to Lithuania and Klaipėda Seaport. This would open up new opportunities for domestic and international businesses,” claims Chief Executive Officer of ‘Lietuvos Geležinkeliai’ Lazauskas.
Moreover, the European gauge railway line Rail Baltica through Kaunas to Palemonas opens up new prospects, allowing direct access to the European freight market. It is already possible to provide regular intermodal cargo transportation services from Lithuania to the Benelux countries and North-West Germany.
The Rail Baltica line also creates an additional connection between the Port of Klaipėda and the Trans-Caspian Corridor, the development of which enables new alternatives to transportation from the Central Asian region. The effective connection of this Corridor with the Baltic Sea Region is one of the new priorities for cooperation between Lithuania and Kazakhstan.
By increasing the competitiveness of the Port of Klaipėda in the Baltic Sea region, Lithuania is planning long-term investments in the development of the Port of Klaipėda: the dredging of the navigation channel up to 17.5 m, the widening of the navigation channel and the development of the territory in the southern part of the port.
“For the Port of Klaipėda, trade relations are important with each country. We are constantly working to expand the circle of trading partners and strengthen cooperation with the already existing partners. With Kazakhstan, the cooperation in the field of maritime transport is underway, but our goal is to increase the existing cargo flows from or to Kazakhstan. Lithuania has sufficient capacity to ensure the smooth transit of cargo from Kazakhstan through Lithuania,” says Algis Latakas, the General Director of Klaipėda State Seaport Authority.
On 14–17 June, Minister Skuodis is visiting Kazakhstan together with the heads of Klaipėda Seaport, ‘Lietuvos Geležinkeliai’, the Lithuanian National Road Carriers Association ‘Linava’ and the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists.
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