Turkmenistan strengthens its positions of international transit, transport hub

Turkmenistan strengthens its positions of international transit, transport hub

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Dec.3

By Huseyn Hasanov - Trend:

Occupying an advantageous geographic location, Turkmenistan strengthens its positions as a key transit and transport hub of regional and continental importance, said the analytical article of The Strategic Planning and Economical Development Institute of Turkmenistan.

The article said that commissioning of the Uzen-Gyzylgaya-Bereket-Etrek-Gorgan new railway line will be of great importance for Turkmenistan in this regard.

The coordination group of banks, which includes the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Saudi Fund for Development, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) participated in financing the construction of the Turkmen part of the North-South international transport corridor, the article said.

The goal of the North-South international transport corridor is to provide backhaul connection of Northern Europe countries and Russia with the countries of the Persian Gulf basin, the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia through Iran, according to the article.

The North-South international transport corridor, which is an alternative to the sea route through the Suez Canal, primarily claims container freight flow, the article said.

Experts said that the perspective freight flow on the North-South international transport corridor is estimated at 35-40 million metric tons per year, and the figures at 10, 15 and 20 million metric tons of container transit are mentioned.

Proceeding from the average load of a 20-foot container with 13-14 metric tons in international transportation, the container cargo flow can hit around 1-1.5 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent) per year.

"The new railway and its connection with the railways of Russia open the optimal transportation route between Europe and the Persian Gulf and create related infrastructure, logistics centers, new growth points, thousands of new jobs," a statement says.

The Turkmen Institute said that this is not only economically and commercially viable project. This is a major factor in geopolitics that can have a major positive impact on the entire situation in the region and beyond. It is the project representing an important factor of stability and security in Asia.

"In fact, the matter rests in a new geo-economic area uniting Central Asia, the countries of the Caspian Basin with the Black Sea region and the Trans-Caucasus with a further way to the Baltic countries and Europe, on the other hand - the Gulf countries and the countries of South-East Asia," a statement says.

The cargo transportation via this railway will significantly reduce the transportation costs and save time for their implementation. This route is by 600 kilometers shorter than the current Beynau-Dashoguz-Turkmenabat-Tejan-Sarakhs-Mashad route. The cargo transported via the railway is expected to be around 10 million metric tons per year. Taking into account the specificity of cargo transportation by railway, a priority is given to the transportation of refined products.

For instance, for Turkmenistan, these are the products of oil refining, chemical industry and construction sphere, as well as fruit and vegetable products and so on.

For Kazakhstan, it is grain that will be supplied to Iranian and Middle Eastern consumers. Kazakh experts said that the potential of the country's agro-industrial complex is of great interest for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well.

The new railway is expected to ensure the access of Kazakh grain to the Persian Gulf countries as well. The transportation of oil and petroleum products via the railway can be of great interest.

Analysts forecast that for Russia, the commissioning of this railway will give a new impetus to the negotiation process on signing of the Russian-Iranian oil contract.

The commissioning of the rail link promises significant economic benefits both for Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, which have joint projects with Iran that provides them with the opportunity to get access to the Persian Gulf.

"That's the value of the new railway, since it creates a multiplier effect for the trade among the neighboring countries and stimulates the promotion of other parallel transport projects," the article said.
---
Huseyn Hasanov is Trend Agency's staff journalist

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