Kazakhstan - Country Commercial Guide
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Under the government’s Nurly Zhol initiative, the country is expected to invest USD 9 billion to develop and modernize the country’s roads, railways, ports, airports, and IT infrastructure.  Kazakhstan is rapidly developing as a hub for transport and logistics in Central Asia, underpinned by the country’s attractiveness as an overland freight transit hub linking China and Europe.  Kazakhstan’s transport sector is expected to drive economic growth over the next five years, with the rail sector’s growth based on increased Chinese investment as part of the latter’s Belt and Road Initiative, which seeks to utilize Kazakhstan’s strategic location as a conduit for growing levels of East-West trade.  The largest volume of infrastructure investment was observed in the Atyrau, Nur Sultan, and Almaty. Kazakhstan’s infrastructure needs are increasing with its expanding economy and growing population. In addition to new infrastructure, proper maintenance and quality control of the existing assets is necessary Kazakhstan’s Nurly Zhol infrastructure development strategy explicitly names two – the Centre-East Road corridor between Nur-Sultan and Ust-Kamenogorsk (Öskemen) and the Centre-West corridor between Shalkar and Kandyagash – as priorities. The Centre-West Corridor is expected to provide jobs and stimulate the development of small and medium enterprises. It will provide a main gateway to the west through the Caspian Sea and Caucasus to Europe, and to the Pacific port city of Lianyungang. In June 2022, President Tokayev announced an investment package worth 20 billion USD until 2025 aimed at enhancing the diversification of transit and transport routes, as well as the implementation of integrated logistics solutions. Among the proposed projects, are upgrades to the Middle Corridor, which would help connect Kazakhstan to the Black Sea via Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Infrastructure Project Financing

External funding from international financial institutions like the ADB, EBRD and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) will drive growth in the construction and infrastructure industries of Kazakhstan over the next five years.  Reflecting the country’s status as Central Asia’s largest infrastructure market, Kazakhstan has attracted and will continue to attract most of the development funding in absolute terms to date.  International development institutions are currently financing 32 projects in Kazakhstan, a figure which accounts for 34% of all projects moving forward in the country and exceeds the combined number of projects in the other four Central Asian markets.  EBRD is particularly active in financing projects in Kazakhstan, with the institution supporting 17 projects with a cumulative value of USD 2.7 billion.

Leading Sub-Sectors

Architectural, Construction and Engineering Services: Despite the slowdown of Kazakhstan’s overall economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, current geopolitical situation, and slowdown of the real estate & construction sectors, there is still demand for building equipment and materials as well as for architectural, construction and engineering services.

Road Development: In the road sector, the focus remains on the domestic road network, which comprises six international corridors with a total length of about 8,250 km that serve as international transit routes between China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Russia, onwards to Europe. Such projects are also part of international agreements, such as Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) and the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA).

The Republic of Kazakhstan has begun implementation of an ambitious program of sovereign roads investments aimed at improving the connectivity and quality of road transport across the country.  More than 11,000 kilometers of roads will be repaired this year. More than 600 billion tenge (US$1.2 billion) were allocated for this. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposed to establish a single road company in Kazakhstan by merging the KazAvtoZhol and KazAvtodor state-owned road companies at the July 14 expanded government meeting

Railway Development:  In the railway sector, Kazakhstan aims to improve express train services for both passenger and freight transportation between major cities, but more private investment is needed. Although there is some increasing evidence of private provision of transport and services, including through public-private partnerships (PPPs) Owing to China’s Belt and Road Initiative and other international rail development projects, Kazakhstan is emerging as a crucial global rail hub in Central Asia.

Port Development:  The Khorgos Gateway Dry Port in eastern Kazakhstan manages growing transit rail freight transport of Chinese goods destined for Central Asia and Europe.  Kazakhstan maintains three ports on the Caspian Sea: Aktau, Kuryk and Bautino.  Aktau International Commercial Sea Port is a modern multi-purpose terminal that allows the transportation of goods across the Caspian Sea. Bautino Cargo Port is a division of Aktau International Commercial Sea Port and is located in the village of Bautino (150 km from the city of Aktau), in the waters of the Bautino Bay of Tyubkaragansky Gulf of the Caspian Sea.

Kuryk Port is located on the coast of the Caspian Sea, south of Aktau. The port has direct access to the railway. The ferry complex of the port is designed for the transshipment of goods, including grain, petroleum products, fertilizers, and chemicals.

These ports are important parts of the ‘Middle Corridor’ enabling cargo from the European Union to transit via Azerbaijan’s Baku Port, ship to Kazakhstan’s Aktau Ports and then across to China – and vice-versa.

Airport Development: Kazakhstan’s Nurly Zhol Development Strategy calls for an increase in the number of airports with automated control systems from three to 15 by 2025; an increase in the number of airports with ICAO certification from 16 to 19 by 2025; and a general increase in passenger and cargo turnover by 2025. Much progress has been made to modernize and expand the country’s international airports. The development and expansion of cargo terminals is now a priority for the country and is underway at the country’s two biggest airports: Almaty International Airport (Almaty), and Nur-Sultan Nazarbayev International Airport (Nazarbayev). Almaty International Airport, based in Kazakhstan’s financial and commercial hub, has great potential for the development of cargo transportation, as it is the busiest airport in Central Asia. In 2019, it served 6.4 million passengers and transported more than 69,000 tons of cargo. The International Finance Corporation is providing a $222.2 million financing package to Almaty International Airport to build a new terminal to strengthen Kazakhstan’s connectivity and economic competitiveness, with the EBRD providing an additional $150 million loan for the project.


The government is interested in pursuing infrastructure development, including roads renovation and construction in the region. With government plans to invest more than USD 4 billion for four major road construction projects, manufacturers of heavy earth moving equipment and road construction equipment will find good opportunities in the market.  The best prospects for U.S. firms involved in infrastructure development include design, architectural and structural engineering services; construction and project management services; safety and security products and services; advanced materials and energy efficiency technologies; road construction machinery and precision navigation equipment; and process automation technologies.  Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development is conducting a feasibility study on the construction of the Turkestan-Shymkent-Tashkent high-speed rail project. Two options have been planned, including modernizing existing railways, or building new lines.


For more information contact Commercial Specialist Azhar.Kadrzhanova@trade.gov