Salamat Abdilda, a Kazakh truck driver, frequently journeys between Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, and Horgos, a port city in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Having started transporting goods such as clothing and essentials from Horgos five years ago, Abdilda has witnessed significant improvements in the process. He notes reduced wait times for loading and customs clearance, now just two to three days, and enhanced amenities in Horgos.
Horgos’ road port reported a striking 115.3 percent year-on-year increase in import and export volume, reaching approximately 1.36 million tonnes in the first three quarters of the year. Vehicle traffic also saw a significant rise, with entries and exits at the port jumping by 178.9 percent.
Horgos, translating to “a place where camels pass” in Mongolian, has a rich history dating over 140 years as a vital route on the ancient Silk Road. Now, it’s a bustling trade hub where over 6,400 China-Europe freight trains passed through in the year’s first 10 months, marking a 9.8 percent increase from the previous year.
International trade company Golden Katyusha, situated in Horgos’ comprehensive bonded zone, capitalizes on the city’s strategic location. It imports materials like flour and rapeseed oil from Russia, producing food products for the Chinese market. Iurii Basargin, the company’s head, praises China’s vast market potential and Horgos’ development, highlighted by new high-rises and shopping centers.
The comprehensive bonded zone is a business hotspot, hosting over 300 companies involved in logistics, e-commerce, international trade, and finance. The inauguration of the Xinjiang Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) this month, which includes Horgos, is set to further enhance trade and financial exchanges.
Horgos Jinyi Group, an agricultural product wholesaler, anticipates the FTZ to escalate its trade with Central Asia and Russia. The streamlined trading processes in the FTZ are expected to ensure better preservation and taste of their fruits and vegetables. Yu Chengzhong, the company’s chairman, echoes a sentiment of optimism, noting the widening opportunities for businesses in the increasingly open Horgos.