In recent months, Asia and the Mediterranean are no longer just a logistics sideshow for the People's Republic of China, but rather areas of key focus. In early June, a new route from China through Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan was added to the New Silk Road. On June 5, the first freight train departed from Lanzhou, China, to Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
China is also showing a strong interest in Afghanistan, which is primarily a destination for Chinese consumer goods. Government subsidies reduce the otherwise high cost of transporting these goods, which pass through Uzbekistan. Therefore the first challenges are to ensuring the receipt of these subsidies and not wasting time in delivering goods that a customer has already paid for.
Accordingly, AsstrA has developed a methodology to keep logistics processes running according to plan. Containers arriving in Uzbekistan from China by rail are promptly shipped onward by truck to Afghanistan. The scheme also functions efficiently in the reverse direction for goods traveling from Afghanistan to China.
Secondary challenges involve traffic jams and checkpoint delays at Kazakh / PRC border crossings caused by the partially lifted quarantine. More stringent sanitary inspections have led to bottlenecks of vehicles at the border.
Prior to the introduction of quarantine measures, trucks from Kazakhstan crossed into China and waited there for cargo before returning to Kazakhstan. To reduce the risk of infection, the Chinese authorities reduced the maximum time these vehicles could wait in China to 12 hours. Now, 9 thousand containers remain in the Kazakh border zone. China has suspended shipments until July 31 to avoid more congestion.
In this situation, AsstrA Clients can choose an alternative approach developed by the company. From China, containers are delivered by sea to a port in the Russian Far East, from where they are sent by regular train to Tashkent. From there, Customers can choose to transport the containers with a lower-priced, open-ended schedule or at a higher-priced, defined schedule.
Customers have appreciated having this choice. One AsstrA Client entrusted the team with an order for the transportation of 6 containers of aluminum pipes via such a bypass route from Qingdao, China, to Uzbekistan. The project started in mid-July, and the cargo has already been delivered to the transshipment point in Russia. It will soon go to Tashkent by rail.
In this fluid, challenging environment, AsstrA Clients can now choose from new, flexible, and ingenious transport alternatives that meet all legal requirements. When new obstacles appear and create risks for Clients, the AsstrA team works according to the principle of "two options are better than one.” Additional transport schemes, taking into account the characteristics of a given market, give customers “room to maneuver.” As experience shows, thinking laterally and creating options is safer than single-mindedly charging forward.