Middle Corridor serves broader strategic interests of Austrian Federal Railways - CEO of ÖBB's Rail Cargo (Exclusive interview)

Kazakhstan Materials 11 June 2024 08:20 (UTC +04:00)
Middle Corridor serves broader strategic interests of Austrian Federal Railways - CEO of ÖBB's Rail Cargo (Exclusive interview)
Ali Gasimov
Ali Gasimov
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 11. The Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR, or Middle Corridor) serves the broader strategic interests of the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), Clemens Först, ÖBB Rail Cargo Group CEO, told Trend in an exclusive interview.

"We are highly interested in and committed to working with various stakeholders to expand and utilize the Middle Corridor, which serves as a key transport link between Europe and Asia, particularly China. The Middle Corridor not only diversifies Rail Cargo Group's route options but is also in line with the broader strategic interests of Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) to strengthen Austria's position as a logistics hub in Central Europe and to connect important markets in East and West," he said.

According to him, the current high demand for transport along the Middle Corridor is mainly driven by the geopolitical situation.

"Its sustainability depends on whether Kazakhstan and the other countries along the route will be able to use the current window of opportunity to develop a sustainable and reliable corridor with reasonable costs and transit times," he said.

Speaking about cooperation with countries in the region, Först noted that the company's cooperation extends across the Central Asian countries from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan and Georgia and primarily involves working with state railway companies and their logistics units for rail freight transport in the intermodal sector.

"We offer our European customers a comprehensive transport chain from the first to the last mile, covering all available modes of transport between Europe and Central Asia. Kazakhstan is in a unique position to become the most important transit hub between Asia and Europe. There is already good experience and close cooperation with the Northern Corridor, and recent developments on the Central Corridor also seem to be moving more and more in the right direction," he said.

Först added that ÖBB Rail Cargo Group has several close collaborations with Kazakhstan and supports the development of the Middle Corridor.

The Middle Corridor is a transportation and trade route that connects Asia and Europe, passing through several countries in the region. It is an alternative route to the traditional Northern Corridor and Southern Corridor.

The route starts in China and crosses Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. It then passes through the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Türkiye before reaching Europe.

The Middle Corridor offers a land route that connects the eastern parts of Asia, including China, with Europe, bypassing the lingering maritime routes.