The first edition of Busworld Central Asia was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, from 25 to 27 June 2019. In the exhibition, 21 vehicles were presented inside, 3 were outside the venue. Since there is no actual production in Kazakhstan (assembling and distribution only), all manufacturing exhibitors came from abroad. Especially Turkey and China were well represented. But also companies of countries like Russia, Tajikistan, Belarus and Uzbekistan made a trip to Kazakhstan with their vehicles.
During the exhibition, the Busworld Academy congress had 38 speakers from all over the world, touching local topics with a worldwide view. The attendance was very good with a nearly filled room for all the seminars. This showed that Kazakhstan can use support from Busworld to help them in developing the bus and coach sector in the country.
Public transport in Kazakhstan is in full transition. Transport Holding of Almaty was represented with a booth dedicated to their state of the art ticketing system called Onay. They visited no less than 24 other cities before creating their own Onay system.
The renewal of the fleet and the increase of the use of public transport are the two priorities on their agenda. Arranging the financing of a new fleet is a big challenge, since the public transport is, next to one municipality operator, operated by 13 privately owned companies. They started this renewal in 2016. The focus in 2019 is still on CNG, while some electric buses are being tested.
A few impressions of some exhibitors:
Anadolu Isuzu, Turkey
Anadolu Isuzu is one of the leading medium-sized bus and coach manufacturing companies in Europe, and produces both city, intercity and coaches in its plant in Kocaeli, Turkey. It exports already to many countries and is planning to even increase this significantly. Kazakhstan is also on the agenda. They brought their Citiport CNG 12m because this vehicle would suit the Kazakh market very well. They already have a strong presence in Azerbaijan, of which a delegation visited them at Busworld Central Asia.
They are a Kazakh distributor and assembler of, amongst other brands, Hyundai and Golden Dragon, the two brands they brought to the exhibition. The Golden Dragon bus they presented, the XML6125CLE, was an electric bus.
Belkommunmash is a Belarusian manufacturer of electric buses and trolley buses. They are interested to export to Kazakhstan and surely also to Europe. That’s why they will be present in the Busworld exhibition in Brussels too. They only brought scale models to Kazakhstan, for Brussels they will make a serious effort to bring an actual vehicle.
Samarkand Automobile Factory or SamAuto is a well-known city and intercity bus body builder from Uzbekistan. The company's dream is to become the leader in bus and truck body building among the CIS countries. Construction of the manufacturing plant started in 1997 and merely 2 years later the first 2 bus models rolled of the production lines. SamAuto has evolved into one of the biggest body building companies in the region with dealerships in all regions of Uzbekistan, but also in Kazakhstan, Georgia and Russia.
Currently SamAuto has 5 types of buses - all with Isuzu engines - 10 chassis and 40 types of bodies. For them, Kazakhstan already is the most important export country with a number of 200 buses exported buses. They have been active in Kazakhstan since 2010 and focus on medium sized buses only, because they are the perfect model for Kazakhstan. It has no giant cities and is often quite hilly.
Voith Russia, a subsidiary of the German company, has a history of 150 years. Focus on the exhibition was the Diwa.6 automatic transmission. In Astana 100% of the buses use Voith transmissions in the Iveco and Maz buses. That’s why they can almost taste the potential of Almaty, being bigger than Astana. A perfect reason to be exhibiting in the Busworld exhibition. They come well prepared: their transmissions can be used in CNG buses and BRT systems – Almaty’s main focus at the moment – and they have an already developed service network.
Busworld Academy’s congress “Futuristic Transportation Solutions for Central Asia” proved to be just what the Kazakh bus and coach professionals needed. It was all about shaping tomorrow’s public transport in Central Asian countries. The Academy hosted presentations by a number of experts with knowledge of the Kazakh and regional markets, complemented with international best cases. The event was supported by the local authorities: the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural development of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Mayorate of Almaty. The mayor himself opened the exhibition and conference on the first day giving an impressive speech about their ambitious plans for buses and coaches in Almaty.
The conference was organised in association with UNCRD (United Nations Center for Regional Development), KAO (Union of Auto Transport of Kazakhstan) , Atamekeh and UITP (Union Internationale des Transports Publics).
Although Kazakhstan and the Central Asian region are in a transition period regarding bus and coach development, it is clear that Busworld can play its part in facilitating this by bringing the manufacturing industry as well as the mobility experts to Almaty. Busworld is ready to grow in 2021 with the second edition of Busworld Central Asia.