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Summer University 2023

19th International Summer University at DKU in Almaty

Intermodal transport: an Environmentally Friendly and Profitable Future Concept for Kazakhstan?

31 July — 11 August 2023

For the upcoming summer of 2023, DKU is planning to hold a summer school on «Intermodal Transport: an Environmentally Friendly and Profitable Future Concept for Kazakhstan?» Using the example of the Trans-Caspian Route, the summer school will seek to identify and analyse problems in Kazakhstan's freight transport as well as develop concepts and best solutions for the implementation of an Intermodal Transport Service. The summer school will consist of two thematic modules, one focusing on logistics and the other on economic and socio-political issues.

In logistics, multimodal transport refers to the use of different modes of transport within a transport chain. In this case, the transport of goods is carried out with two or more different means of transport within fixed prescribed time schedules. In freight transport, this involves moving standardised transport units (containers, swap bodies, semi-trailers) so that the goods are moved in closed units when loading between different modes of transport. A special form of multimodal transport is intermodal transport, which also takes passenger transport into account. In passenger transport, this involves a linking of means of transport within a route, i.e. travellers are transported by different means of transport within a single travel chain.

Intermodal transport can be a key competitive advantage for logistics service providers, as the combination of different transport modes can reduce costs and ensure the timely delivery of goods (Crainic et al. 2018). Furthermore, from a societal perspective, intermodal transport increases the volume of the environmentally friendly modes of rail and inland waterway transport and is therefore an important pillar for achieving emission reduction targets in the trans-port sector. In Europe, combined transport in particular is promoted as an alternative to long-distance road transport (European Commission 2015). Combined transport is a special form of intermodal transport in which the main transport takes place by rail, inland waterway or sea, and the pre- and post-carriage by road is as short as possible (EUROSTAT et al. 2009).

The Summer University 2023 will consist of two thematically linked modules.

Module I on logistics will deal in particular with the following topics:

  • Potentials and challenges in freight transport in Kazakhstan along the Trans-Caspian route;
  • What transport and storage capacities are available along this route;
  • What investments and innovations in freight transport are necessary for the economic use of the route;
  • Current status of process handling in Kazakh freight transport, in which areas can digitalization accelerate and/or optimize the processes to be handled;
  • Which Kazakh and German companies are cooperating, both in the implementation of freight transports along the Trans-Caspian route and in solving open technical and organizational issues.

Module II on Economics will focus on the following issues:

  • The future development of freight transport;
  • The investment and financial needs for the development of intermodal transport for 2023−2030;
  • Effects of transport on economy, society and space;
  • Socio-economic impacts of transport on employment and economy from a comparative perspective;
  • Economic risks and prospects for freight transport.

Learning outcomes

Using a concrete example, the Transcaspian Route, with its specific logistical and economic problems, the participants of the DKU Summer School 2023 will learn to recognize and analyze the diverse connections between logistics, economy, society and space and to develop their own solution concepts. Through on-site visits and discussions local Kazakh stakeholders, the students will have the opportunity to acquire knowledge about the existing modes of transport (road, rail and water) with their special characteristics, requirements (goods handling and transport concepts as well as containers and loading equipment used) and economic and socio-economic interactions, which they can incorporate into their work.

For this Summer University we have invited two renowned lecturers from Germany who will cover the modules.

Module I is taught by Johannes Rentschler, M.Sc., research associate at the Chair of Corporate Management and Logistics at Darmstadt University of Technology.

Module II is taught by Prof. Dr. Leef H. Dierks, Professor of Finance and International Capital Markets at the Lübeck University of Technology.

Cultural program

As the summer university also intends to create an impression on the region Central Asia, Kazakhstan and the city of Almaty, we also plan a variety of events like field trips and mountain hikes, sightseeing, interactive and guided visits to exhibitions. Most of the costs will be covered by the tuition fee.

Eligibility: We encourage to apply current students (BA and MA) as well as PhD students who have experience and interest in this year’s main theme.

Application documents:

  • Letter of motivation (max. 300 words)
  • Proof of adequate English language skills (please include test results, if available);
  • Proof of enrollment at a university or university of applied sciences;
  • Filled in questionnaire (download here).


Participants from Central Asia:

Students and young academics from Central Asian countries (outside Almaty) can apply directly to the DKU. Depending on availability of funds the DKU will provide scholarships to cover travel allowance in Central Asia, accommodation costs in shared rooms (incl. breakfast) and tuition fees. We cover accommodation for the whole period of the summer university from 31 July to 11 August, plus 2 days for travel on 30 July and 12 August. Meals during conference days are also provided. Dinners are not included. While arranging your travel we suggest considering the most affordable option (e.g. marshroutka from/to Bishkek and train from/to Tashkent).

Participants from Germany:

Participants from Germany are eligible to apply for a one of the 15 scholarships funded by DAAD. The scholarship consists of a lump sum to cover subsistence costs, travel allowance and tuition fee. Meals during conference days are also provided. Dinners are not included. For more information, please, visit:

The application procedure requires that interested students must apply separately to the DKU for admission and to the DAAD for a scholarship!


The tuition fee for students from Germany is 650 EUR, for students from Central Asia — 50.000 tenge. It must be paid on the first day of the summer university. We can assist self-funded students with flight arrangements and accommodation at reasonable costs.

We also recommend asking the international office of your home university for financial aid.

Language of instruction: English

Certificate: Upon successful completion of the summer school the participants will receive a certificate stating the topic of the course and the number of 3 ECTS obtained.

Deadline: Please send your application documents by 24 May at the latest to