Korgas Port, located by the Korgas River in Huocheng County, Ili Kazakhstan Autonomous Prefecture, is 90 kilometers from Yining City and 670 kilometers from Urumqi. The Korgas Port in Kazakhstan is only 15 kilometers from its Chinese counterpart; it is 35 kilometers from Panfilov City and 378 kilometers from Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan.
The Korgas Port is the largest highway port in western China. In the Sui (AD 581-618) and Tang (AD 618-907) dynasties, it was a significant way station on the northern Silk Road. On November 16, 1983, the State Council ratified the decision to open it as a trade port. In August 1992, the Chinese and Kazakhstan governments agreed to open it to third countries, and it became an international through transport port.
The Korgas Port is open year-round. Plans call for it to occupy 12 square kilometers, and nearly five square kilometers are currently finished. The port has a management committee and complete inspection facilities and personnel. The comprehensive inspection hall, office building and bank, post and telecommunications agencies cover an area of 298,000 square meters; the warehouse and goods yard, 122,000 square meters; and border people's reciprocal trade fair, 1 million square meters. There are 45 permanent units operating here and over 2,500 branch offices and enterprises.
On March 1, 1989, a regular bus from Yining to Qingshui River and Panfilov in Kazakhstan began running. On March 1, 1993, nonstop passenger and regular cargo buses linking Urumqi, Korgas and Almaty began operating.
In 2002, 146,800 passengers, 29,000 vehicles and 340,000 tons of cargo passed through the port. Since the State Council approved the opening of the reciprocal trade fair in August 1992, eight branch fairs and one special market have been set up. Together, they cover 120,000 square meters, enabling 20,000 people to conduct business. Some 500,000 square meters of warehousing was also built.
The Korgas Port can accommodate 3 million passengers and 2 million tons of cargo each year. With China's continued opening and the implementation of the western development strategy, the Korgas Port is playing an increasingly important role for the five northwestern provinces and autonomous regions. It has become a vital window for China's trade with Central Asia and Europe.
(China.org.cn December 15, 2004)