China, Iran and Kyrgyzstan may join Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway project
Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, June 26 / Trend, H. Hasanov /
Construction of the Turkmenistan - Afghanistan - Tajikistan (TAT) rail corridor which began in the beginning of June is of great importance to the strategic, political and economic interests of all countries participating in the project, according to the Strategic Planning Institute under the Ministry of Economy of Turkmenistan.
The report notes that "China, Iran and Kyrgyzstan may also join the project later."
It is planned that the 400 kilometers-long new TAT railway will come into operation by 2015. Moreover, the Turkmen railwaymen will also lay the Afghan section of the road.
"The future rail network will not only connect the countries of the region, but also provide them with access to the markets of more distant states. Such routes will allow the continental and closed Central Asian countries to fully realize their economic potential," according to the report.
This route will open a new corridor between Central Asia and global markets through the ports on the Indian Ocean.
Its length is twice less than through Russia to the coast of the Baltic Sea.
Turkmenistan's Ministry draws attention to the fact that at Turkmenistan that develops and diversifies its transportation system also faces serious competition from neighboring transit corridors.
Transit has become an important source of exports of services, foreign exchange revenues and a generator of more jobs. Future prospects are largely related to the proper adaptation of the railway network and its services to the possibilities of new transit and export-import cargo. Alongside, particular importance is acquired by the creation of transport corridors undertaking intermodal transportation.
The acceleration of globalization and integration processes brings qualitative new requirements for Turkmenistan as a transit country.
In particular, issues of transit development, ensuring the speed of delivery, safety of goods, information support and a lack of administrative barriers by border and customs services must be examined.
Atamyrat-Imamnazar (the Turkmen section of TAT project) will be the seventh rail link among Turkmenistan and neighboring countries. After the North-South line is constructed to the border with Iran, this will be the eighth crossing from Turkmenistan to neighboring countries (two crossings on the border with Iran, one - on the border with Kazakhstan, two - with Afghanistan and three - with Uzbekistan).
"This connection means that our country is eager to expand the possibilities of rail transit in the region," Turkmen experts said. "A lack of delay in the transportation of goods will reduce the costs of consumers. It directly bears the future economic benefits for all."
The global status quo for movement of goods will significantly change by affecting the permanent trade flows in less than two years when the North-South railway lines and TAT are commissioned (Turkmenistan, Iran and Kazakhstan are involved in its implementation). The two rail lines will transport around 25 million tons of cargo per year through the Eurasian continent from China to the center of Europe, from Afghanistan to Russia and beyond.
According to the Turkmen Institute, the countries of South Asia can reduce the transportation period by 8 days and the cost of containers by $ 500, if Pakistan and India optimize their systems to benefit from the growing network of Central Asia's railways.