Pakistan sends first-ever consignment to Kazakhstan via Silk Route

Consignment sent under quadrilateral traffic in transit agreement

In a significant milestone for trade relations, Pakistan has successfully sent its first transit consignment to Kazakhstan via the historic Silk Route, marking a new era of trade between the two countries. This achievement comes as a result of the operationalisation of the Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA) signed between Pakistan, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.

The momentous occasion was celebrated at the Silk Route Dry Port (SRDP) in Sost, located at the China-Pakistan (Khunjerab) border. Present to witness this historic event were His Excellency Mr. Yerzhan Kistafin, the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Pakistan, along with esteemed dignitaries including Col (R) Ubaidullah- the Minister of Commerce for Gilgit Baltistan, Syed Fawad Ali Shah- the Collector Customs for Gilgit-Baltistan, Mr. Rana Muhammad Saleem Afzal- the Secretary Home for Gilgit-Baltistan, and representatives from the business community.

The first-ever transit consignment embarked on its journey from SRDP, Sost in Pakistan, and will traverse through China to reach its final destination in Almaty, Kazakhstan. This newly established transit route holds great promise, as it is expected to significantly reduce trade time and costs between Pakistan and Kazakhstan. Moreover, it opens up diverse avenues for regional trade among Pakistan, China, and the Central Asian Republics (CARs).

Pakistan Customs played a pivotal role in making this transit trade a reality and showcased its unwavering commitment to facilitate and develop trade, particularly in the realm of transit trade. The efforts and keen interest of Chairman FBR- Mr. Asim Ahmed, Member Customs (Operations)- Mr. Mukarram Jah Ansari, Director General Transit Trade- Mr. Wajid Ali, and Chief Collector Customs (North)- Mr. Imran Mohmand, have paved the way for this landmark achievement.

The commencement of transit trade to the CARs is not only a testament to the dedication of Pakistan Customs, but it also highlights the potential transformation of the Pakistan-China land border at Sost, Khunjerab, into an international hub for cross-border and transit trade. This development holds immense opportunities for economic growth and regional connectivity.

Officials believe that the breakthrough in transit trade will not only strengthen trade relations between Pakistan and Kazakhstan, but also enhance economic cooperation with China and the CARs. By leveraging the strategic location of the Silk Route and the QTTA, Pakistan aims to tap into the untapped potential of Central Asian markets, opening up new avenues for exports and economic development in the region.

Currently, the trade volume between Pakistan and Kazakhstan stands at $219 million, which is below its true potential. Pakistan has traditionally relied on export markets in the Middle East, the United States, and the European Union (EU), but the Central Asian states offer a significant untapped market for Pakistani exports.

The Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA) is a transit trade deal that facilitates transit traffic and trade between China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. This agreement, which is also part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), provides an excellent communication route between Central Asia and the Gwadar Port in the Arabian Sea.

Following the development of the Gwadar Port in Balochistan province, this route has become more lucrative, particularly for Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Additionally, the recent frequent border closures with Afghanistan have further underscored the importance of this transit route for Pakistan.

The inclusion of Tajikistan in the QTTA was expressed in February 2017, and Uzbekistan also expressed a desire to join the agreement in May 2020. The initial work on this road project was initiated in 1995, emphasizing the long-standing efforts to establish a robust and efficient transit trade network in the region.

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Ghulam Abbas
Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]


  1. Good joint efforts from all the four countries. This barter trades defnatel reduced the pressure on dollar and improved PKR value


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