Full steam ahead for the Kazakh railway sector

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo
@pyrkalo

The EBRD is providing the private Kazakh rail company JSC Olzha with a US$ 24.8 million (€19.2 million equivalent) loan to support the development and growth of the company.

Olzha, a joint stock company, is providing operating leases for freight wagons to corporate clients in Kazakhstan and beyond, mainly for the transportation of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and oil products. Olzha has been active in the market for the last 18 years. As freight owners increasingly favour leasing over ownership of railroad cars, demand for Olzha’s services is expected to increase significantly. This will be fuelled further by an increase in oil and gas production in Kazakhstan in the years ahead.

Kazakhstan has one of the world’s largest railway networks. With its vast territory and lack of a significant water transport alternative, railways play a key role in the national transport sector, accounting for some 60 per cent of all freight movement.

Thomas Maier, EBRD Managing Director for Infrastructure, said: “This is our first private sector transaction in the railway sector in Kazakhstan and it makes us very proud to support the future growth and development of a local company with strong potential such as Olzha. Especially at a time when access to finance remains scarce, the EBRD can really make a difference when it comes to funding the real economy.”

Bolat Dyuisekin, General Director of Olzha, added: “The EBRD loan will enable the company to expand its fleet and strengthen its position in the market. Also, as part of this engagement with the Bank, the company will implement a programme to align health and safety practices with the relevant international standards. This will give the company a competitive advantage.”

Since the beginning of its operations in Kazakhstan 20 years ago, the EBRD has invested close to US$ 6.3 billion in the country’s economy, with more than half of the Bank’s projects supporting the private sector.