Turkmenistan actively discusses transportation cooperation at various levels of negotiation, as well as at conferences, business forums, and meetings of representatives of Central Asian countries and the Caspian region’s transport complex. Rustam Seyidov, Deputy Chairman of the Association “Turkmen Logistics” shared on the latest developments in transport partnership of Turkmenistan in his article in the newspaper “Neutral Turkmenistan”.
Transport and Logistics Cooperation in Central Asia
On 27 January 2023, an online conference of the national coordinators of the Partnership on Transport and Logistics in Central Asia was held, which was attended by the members of the Association “Turkmen Logistics”.
The Partnership for Transport and Logistics in Central Asia is a permanent regional professional platform (forum) that was established in 2015 on the initiative of the private sector of the region with the aim to improve the quality of transport and logistics services in Central Asia.
“In the context of Turkmenistan’s transport policy, it is of great interest for us to take part in the work of this forum,” the author writes.
As a rule, representatives of relevant ministries and departments of Central Asian countries, transport and logistics companies, customs, business, industry associations, independent analysts and experts participate in conferences on this platform. This helps with the thorough consideration of issues such as streamlining border crossing procedures, enhancing and harmonizing regulatory and legal documents, developing transit, and other matters related to the export, import, and transit of goods, as well as the establishing of trade relations and direct business contacts.
The representatives of Turkmenistan informed the participants about the establishment of cooperation with the Russian port of Astrakhan, as well as about the formation of the transport corridor Kyrgyzstan- Uzbekistan – Turkmenistan (port of Turkmenbashi) – Russia (port of Astrakhan).
Cooperation between Central Asia and Russia
According to Seyidov, Turkmenistan’s neighbors in Central Asia, as well as the business communities of Iran, India, and Arab countries express great interest in transshipment of goods from Turkmenistan to Astrakhan.
In this regard, the Turkmenistan’s participation in the activities of the special economic zone “Lotus” (Astrakhan) in order to develop the international North-South transit corridor is opening up new opportunities.
Reaching the full capacity of the North–South international transport corridor will create a wide field of prospects for business related to the construction of infrastructure, service and trade and logistics centers, modernization of seaports.
In the context of logistics cooperation in the Caspian Sea, the online conference of the national coordinators of the Partnership for Transport and Logistics in Central Asia also discussed the importance of fully utilizing transportation between Turkmenistan and Russia along the lines Turkmenbashi-Astrakhan and Turkmenbashi–Makhachkala.
In general, it should be emphasized that Turkmenistan views the expansion of cooperation in the areas of logistics and transport between the Central Asian nations and Russia as one of the priority sectors.
“Turkmenistan believes that it is necessary to focus efforts on maximizing the potential that opens up to the Central Asian nations and Russia in the context of optimizing transport flows in the Eurasian space. In this context, we should consider the activation of the North–South transport corridor: from Russia through Central Asia to the sea terminals in the Indian Ocean. Turkmenistan, as a country that provides the shortest route to the Persian Gulf, to the ports of Iran and from there to India, is ready to start implementing this project,” President Serdar Berdimuhamedov said during the Central Asia–Russia Summit held in Astana in October 2022.
Prospects of transport cooperation between Turkmenistan and Russia
The Turkmen-Russian business forum conducted in Ashgabat in January 2023 was mentioned by the Deputy Chairman of the Association “Turkmen Logistics” in his article essay about the most recent advancements in the sphere of transport cooperation with international partners.
It was noted at the forum that Turkmenistan’s unique geographical location makes it an important transit hub. First of all, we are talking about the development of the eastern route of the international North-South transport and transit corridor. The test travel of container trains on the eastern route showed that the cargo is delivered 3 days faster than on the traditional sea route from the Black Sea ports.
Coherent steps are being taken by partners in realizing the potential of the eastern branch of the North-South route.
“It is planned to improve the entire transport and logistics chain: loading at terminals in Russia, passing through the Turkmen-Iranian border crossings, where containers are reloaded onto Iranian cars of 1435 mm gauge, ensuring cargo delivery to consignees in Iran. Russian Railways also carries non-containerized cargo, in particular to India. Shipments of a number of goods through Turkmenistan and Iran to the UAE, Turkey and other countries are being worked out,” Seyidov said.
He also stressed that the Association “Turkmen Logistics” and the Russian Association of Forwarding and Logistics Organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2022. This document is aimed at developing partnerships, enhancing the quality of freight forwarding services provided by members of associations, as well as the development of the forwarding industry and transport logistics both on a bilateral and regional basis.
///nCa, 7 February 2023 (The article is originally published in the newspaper “Neutral Turkmenistan” of 7 Feb 2023)