Roads: In 2007, Kazakhstan had about 93,100 kilometers of roads, 84,000 kilometers of which were hard surface. Of the 23,000 kilometers of main highways, an estimated two-thirds are in poor condition. The major artery, the 1,222-kilometer road between Astana and Almaty, was rehabilitated in the early 2000s with funding from three international banks. With assistance from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, another important highway is being completed along the Caspian coast between Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan and Astrakhan in Russia, serving Kazakhstan’s western oil outposts. There are 46 road crossings on the border with Russia, seven each on the borders with Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, and six on the border with China.Spurred by income from oil, ownership of private vehicles increased sharply in the early2000s, albeit from a very low starting point.
Railroads: In 2007, Kazakhstan had an estimated 15,100 kilometers of rail line, of which about 4,000 kilometers were electrified. The infrastructure of the railroad systemis in poor condition, although Kazakhstan still moves nearly 75 percent of its freight and 50 percent of its passengers by rail. Using foreign funds, state-owned Kazakhstan Railways has undertaken a three-year infrastructure improvement program, and its passenger service was being reorganized in 2006. Rolling stock and spare parts have been in short supply. The system is concentrated in the northern part of the country, where it connects with lines in southern Russia. Lines also run north-east from Almaty toj oin the Trans-Siberian Railroad in Russia and westward from Almaty to Shymkent and then into European Russia. The main connector with Uzbekistan runs into Shymkent. Needed reform of the administrative structure and route improvements have gone slowly. A high priority is construction of a shorter rail route across Kazakhstan to link western China with Russia. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan plan a 100-kilometer connector line from Almaty to Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan, to be completed in 2008. A rail lineconnects Druzhba, on Kazakhstan’s eastern border, with China via the Alataw Shankou Pass. Almaty also plans to build a 35-kilometer subway line.
Ports: Kazakhstan’s major ports are the cities of Aktau and Atyrau on the Caspian Sea and the Irtysh River ports of Цskemen, Pavlodar, and Semey, which serve the northeastern industrial sector. Beginning in 1999, Aktau was upgraded, with the goal ofhandling 7.5 million tons of oil and 1 million tons of freight per year. A new ferry port opened in Aktau in 2001 added substantially to its capacity and established ferry connections with Azerbaijan, Iran, and Russia.
Inland Waterways: Although Kazakhstan has about 4,000 kilometers of inlandwaterways, 80 percent of river traffic uses the Irtysh River. Eleven companies carry traffic through the system.
Civil Aviation and Airports: In 2006, some 16 major airports and 51 smaller paved runway airports served Kazakhstan. Nine had runways longer than 3,000 meters. Four, at Astana, Almaty, Aktau, and Atyrau, offered international flights. In 2006 a fifth international airport was planned to serve western Kazakhstan. Flights from Almaty connect with Russia, other former Soviet republics, and some destinations in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Development of Kazakhstan’s airline service has suffered from political struggles over control of the industry. The government has contracted management of some airports to foreign companies, and in the early 2000s foreign companies began competing with domestic airlines. In 2002 one-third of Kazakhstan’s air companies lost their licenses because of lax safety practices, and many companies merged thereafter. Air Kazakhstan, the state airline, declared bankruptcy in 2004, making its competitor Air Astana the main domestic airline.
Pipelines: Because Kazakhstan is a vast country producing large amounts of oil and natural gas, pipelines receive high priority in transportation planning, and their location and funding have been controversial issues. In 2007, Kazakhstan had 11,019 kilometers of natural gas pipeline, 10,338 kilometers of oil pipeline, 1,095 kilometers of pipeline for refined products, and 658 kilometers for gas condensate. Poor management and distribution of the domestic pipeline system have necessitated importation of natural gas, and foreign investment has concentrated on export lines. Kazakhstan islinked to the Russian pipeline system by the Atyrau–Samara line, whose capacity was increased in 2001, and to Russia’s Black Sea oil terminal at Novorossiysk by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium line. The Central Asia Oil Pipeline sends oil from Kazakhstan through Turkmenistan and Afghanistan to Pakistan’s Arabian Sea port ofGwadar. In late 2005, the Atasu–Alashankou oil pipeline was completed between eastern Kazakhstan and Xinjiang Province in China. That 970-kilometer line has acapacity of 20 million tons per year. In 2006 work, was underway to extend that line from Atasu to Atyrau on the Caspian Sea, making the total length 2,900 kilometers.
Additional capacity for the export of crude oil is planned through the construction of anew 750 kilometer pipeline from Yeskene, near Atyrau, to Kuryk, close to the Aktau seaport. From Kuryk, oil would be transported by tanker to Baku, Azerbaijan, where it willbe fed into the BTC pipeline. It is expected that the new pipeline would handleincreased production from the Tengiz field as well as Kashagan oil once productioncomes on line.