Kazakhstan plans to build a silo terminal at the port of Baku in Azerbaijan to boost its grain exports. The facility is expected to be operational within five years.
The head of operations at an international seaport in Azerbaijan has said Kazakhstan plans to build a grain storage facility there to facilitate its goal of expanding its international export market, Eurasianet reported.
Speaking at a conference in Washington, Eugene Seah, chief operations officer at the Baku International Sea Trade Port, said the facility could be in place in the next five years. Seah was quoted as saying that grain arriving in Baku could be sent on to “anyone who needs it”.
The port has apparently benefited from a surge in east-west traffic across the Caspian Sea since the start of the war in Ukraine. In 2022, the flow of goods delivered to Europe via the Caspian, bypassing Russia, increased by 2 ½ times compared to the previous year to 1.5 million tonnes. As for Kazakhstan, the volume of exports via the trans-Caspian corridor increased more than sixfold year-on-year to around 900,000 tonnes over the same period. Much of these exports were grains.
Kazakhstan’s top grain buyer in Europe is Italy, which imported 226,000 tonnes of the foodstuff last year, up 10 per cent from 2021. Turkey bought 110,000 tonnes of grain, an increase of 58 per cent. Other notable buyers were Latvia and Poland.
The potential to expand this flow is considerable. Kazakh grain producers are planning to increase total grain and flour exports to 9 million tonnes in this crop year, which ends in
August, according to agro-industry experts.
While the sector is relatively small in the context of Kazakhstan’s much larger hydrocarbon industry, the pragmatic logistics considerations are indicative of how the country is seeking to diversify its export portfolio into processed goods. The shipment of agricultural products to markets in the European Union is one of the priority areas. “Kazakhstan can offer the EU more than 175 types of processed goods with a total value of more than $2.3 billion, such as engineering goods, iron and steel products, and agricultural and processed food products. Moreover, as a large producer of cereals, the country is in a position to become a strategic partner of the European Union in setting the global food agenda,” the Cabinet Office said in a statement on 19 May.