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Abu Dhabi logistics firm expands into Kazakhstan

The Central Asian country has important strategic value for Iran, Turkey and other countries in the region.
TALANT KUSAIN/AFP via Getty Images

Abu Dhabi’s AD Ports Group signed an agreement with Kazakhstan Wednesday pertaining to the Caspian Sea. 

AD Ports Group will establish a joint venture with Kazmortransflot, a subsidiary of Kazakhstan’s state-owned oil and gas company KazMunayGas. The two will provide shipping and offshore services in the Caspian Sea. AD Ports Group specifically mentioned the following services in a press release: 

  • offshore support of vessels in the sea
  • subsea solutions, which could refer to underwater equipment for ocean exploration or seafloor mineral mining 
  • loading containers
  • "ro-ro," which refers to transporting wheeled vehicles
  • crude oil transportation 

Spokespeople for AD Ports Group did not respond to Al-Monitor’s request for more information. 

Why it matters: The Caspian Sea and Kazakhstan are both strategically important areas for Middle Eastern states. The Islamic Republic of Iran is particularly interested in cultivating strong trade relations with Kazakhstan. In June, Iran and Kazakhstan inaugurated a railway network connecting Kazakhstan to Turkey by way of Iran. 

Iran is working to promote the International North-South Transport Corridor as an alternative to the Suez Canal. That trade route runs from Russia to India and includes roads, railways and shipping routes. The Caspian is part of the corridor, according to Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Digital Development and Transport. 

Kazakhstan, Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan border the Caspian Sea. Turkey also has good relations with Kazakhstan. In May, the two countries signed an agreement on joint drone production

Know more: Several Middle Eastern leaders traveled to Kazakhstan in October for the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia. Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the leaders of Turkey, Qatar, and the Palestinian Authority during the event. 

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