Thousands of trucks and carriages were stuck on the state border between China and Kazakhstan due to strict sanitary control. As the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs named Atameken reported, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned its Kazakhstani counterparts that China will keep quarantine measures for the rest of the winter and during spring.
Currently, more than 8,000 heavy trucks are registered online to cross the border at the Nurly Zhol checkpoint. Thousands of carriages are just abandoned on the railways because they can’t move further. According to Talgat Temirkhanov, deputy chairman of the Atameken, it takes 1.5 hours for one truck and from 2 to 6 hours for one carriage to pass the disinfection and the heat treatment.
“At the end of December, we visited Dostyk border checkpoint along with several entrepreneurs and officials. To make border crossing easier we suggested our authorities organize sanitary treatment on our side of the border but failed. However, we were able to help those entrepreneurs who found themselves in trouble because the government agreed with us and decided to support domestic businesses by recognizing this situation as a force majeure,” said Temirkhanov.
The relevant letter from the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development was published on the Atameken website in early December. Entrepreneurs who are struggling with foreign trade problems may apply for a force majeure certificate in the Chamber of Commerce. As the chamber reports, they received 64 applications and have already issued 28 certificates so far.
“Indeed, entrepreneurs are reeling. Many of them have contracts for essential goods or even medical items shipment. Also, this severely hit the Kazakhstan Railways company. They have received more than 6,000 claims,” the Chamber of Commerce informed.
The reason why Kazakhstani cargo began to stockpile on the border is the desire of Chinese authorities to check every vehicle, carriage or even bag. They want any product and transport to pass through sanitary treatment before entering China.
“I believe, in order to avoid social and economic tension, we need to stabilize the situation on the basis of equality and mutual benefits for all market participants,” said Temirkhanov.
According to the deputy head of Atameken, the chamber tried many times to persuade Kazakhstan’s government to launch negotiations with the Chinese at the top level because the problem is still there. To help Kazakhstani businesses to avoid penalties in the new year of 2021 the chamber wants the Ministry of Industry to clarify the current situation on the border.
In November, due to the fast spread of COVID-19, China tightened its border control of goods that are entered or reloaded into the Chinese territory. As a result, now Chinese border guards need much more time to check and treat one vehicle. Given the difference between Kazakhstani and Chinese railway track gauge, this led to huge jams of carriages with various goods.