In response to a request from Moscow, Kazakhstan’s deputy prime minister Serik Zhumangarin stated on Tuesday that there are no urgent intentions to reduce the railroad transit tariffs for Russian agricultural products, including grain, Successful Farming reported, citing Reuters.
As Moscow strives to diversify exports into markets like China, Central Asia, and Afghanistan as a result of Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, state-owned Russian Railways urged its Kazakh counterpart to offer Russian shippers a discount in September, according to a story in Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper this month.
“No one is going to cut (fees) until there are concrete proposals on what volumes of which goods will be shipped,” Zhumangarin told a briefing after meeting Russian officials a day earlier. “We must be pragmatic and think about the country’s long-term interests.”
However, Kazakhstan also exports grains, and its low shipping costs offer it a competitive edge in those markets.
According to Vedomosti, China’s projected 9 million tonnes of annual grain consumption is similar to that of Central Asia’s Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan coupled with Afghanistan.
Earlier, Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine reached a pact in Istanbul to restore grain shipments from three Black Sea ports in Ukraine, which were halted since the outbreak of the Moscow-Kyiv conflict in February.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara remained committed to sending Russian food and fertilizers to underdeveloped nations, and the parties are now in negotiations over a potential extension and expansion beyond the agreement’s deadline of November 19.