• KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 8

EU and Kazakhstan Launch Coordination Platform of Trans-Caspian Transport Corridor

On 12 June, the European Commission and Kazakhstan launched the Coordination Platform for the Trans-Caspian Transport Corridor, also known as the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR) or the Middle Corridor, in Astana. According to Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Transport, the newly established Coordination Platform will improve the safety and sustainability of the Trans-Caspian Transport Corridor and turn it into a multimodal and competitive route linking Europe and Asia in 15 days or less. The event was attended by representatives of Central Asian countries and other states sited along the corridor, as well as international financial institutions and non-EU G7 countries. Emphasizing the critical development of transport infrastructure and strengthening transport links for the regions’ economic growth and prosperity, Marat Karabayev, Minister of Transport of Kazakhstan, stated: “The establishment of the Coordination Platform provides us with a unique opportunity to join forces, exchange experience and perspectives to reach common goals. I would like to note that our partners from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, as well as Turkey have been invited to join this effort, which plays an important role in terms of achieving major and sustainable goals for the development of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route.” The Minister of Transport expressed gratitude to the European Union for its invaluable support and efforts towards the development of Central Asian countries. Speaking at the event, Henrik Hololei, Hors-Classe Adviser at the Directorate-General for International Partnerships in the European Commission, stated: "The Coordination Platform created for the Trans-Caspian Transport Corridor marks a significant step forward in our cooperation to bring Central Asia and Europe closer together. Sustainable transport connections are crucial for consolidating the region’s economic growth and connectivity with Europe." Ms. Maja Bakran, Deputy Director General for Mobility and Transport at the European Commission, then added: “The Coordination Platform will be instrumental in making the Trans-Caspian Transport Corridor a multimodal, modern, competitive, sustainable, predictable, smart and fast route linking Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The coordination efforts among the various stakeholders will drive forward deeper connections and contribute to sustainable economic development of the region.” The Platform’s key objectives are to promote the corridor and coordinate efforts on the implementation of priority hard and soft infrastructure projects in Central Asia. It will also boost and coordinate investments in rail, road, and port infrastructure.    

How the Trans-Caspian Corridor will Revitalize Trade between Asia and Europe.

Kazakhstan's Transport Minister, Marat Karabayev has stated that geopolitical tensions are disrupting traditional logistics chains and jeopardizing global trade. As reported in an article published in the Chinese business publication, "South China Morning Post, " he claimed that developing the Trans-Caspian transport corridor is essential for increasing transit potential. Karabayev believes the Trans-Caspian international transportation route is an effective alternative to traditional maritime routes. The overland corridor connects Southeast Asia and China with Europe, crossing Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey. Last year, cargo traffic along this route exceeded 2.7 million tons, up 86%. "Kazakhstan can play a key role here. As the largest country between Asia and Europe, it is an important transit hub for trade between the two continents. Kazakhstan accounts for about 80% of all land transit traffic from China to Europe,” said Karabayev. He noted that the Trans-Caspian corridor has undergone a steady development over the past decade. In recent years, geopolitical changes have given it additional impetus, especially since the number of container ships crossing through the Suez Canal in 2023, decreased by 67%  and the cost of sea transportation from Shanghai to European countries has almost tripled in recent months. Given that overland transit would reduce costs and become a more viable logistical option, Kazakhstan is committed to improving infrastructure and terminal facilities, increasing rolling stock, removing administrative barriers, and creating favorable carrier conditions. "However, for the Middle Corridor to achieve its goals, we need the support and participation of other countries," advised Karabayev. "Austria, Germany, Latvia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Hungary have expressed interest in joining the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route Association. The EU recently announced an investment of 10 billion euros ($10.85 billion). In addition, a roadmap for development until 2027 has been agreed with Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey.”

Test Run of Trans-Caspian Route from China to Europe via Kazakhstan

At a meeting of the Kazakh-Chinese commission on road transportation on 24 May in Aktau, Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Transport reported on a test  run of the transit of goods along the China-Kazakhstan-Azerbaijan-Georgia route through the seaports of Kuryk and Baku across the Caspian Sea. On 23 May, the first three Chinese trucks, weighing 80 tons, travelled from Urumqi through Kazakhstan to the city of Aktau’s Kuryk port and after being loaded onto a ferry, continued their journey to Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Europe. Praising the agreement with China on enhancing road transportation signed last year, Ali Altai, Chairman of the Committee for Road Transport and Transport Control at the Ministry of Transport of Kazakhstan, commented: “For the first time in history, vehicles from both countries can travel directly to all our major trading cities and transit through their territories. It currently takes up to 52 days for hundreds of millions of tons of cargo to be shipped by sea from China to Western countries, and up to 22 days to transport smaller volumes by rail. Road transport can reduce the delivery time to 12 days, on a ‘door to door’ basis without intermediate loading/unloading.”

What Does Raisi’s Death Mean for the Caspian Sea Region?

By Robert M. Cutler The death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter accident on May 19 will have significant effects on Iranian domestic politics and foreign policy. These include not only Iran's relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan directly, but also indirectly through the Trans-Caspian International Trade Route (TITR, also called the "Middle Corridor") and the International North–South Transit Corridor (INSTC). Despite conspiracy theories, the only reasonable alternative hypothesis to an accidental crash is that the pilot intentionally ran the helicopter into the mountain head-on at full speed. Both possibilities may be subsumed under the category "Act of God". Raisi was working to normalize relations with Azerbaijan and was seen as a potential - even likely - future Supreme Leader of Iran, succeeding the 85-year-old Ali Khamenei, who is in poor health. Now, however, it is not out of the question that his death leads to a reorientation of Tehran's foreign policy and a wave of radicalization. The outcome will depend upon the obscure machinations of the theocratic and security-service elite, for which the formal organizational and constitutional arrangements set the framework but do not determine the result. The Iranian president is not the most powerful individual in the country's political system, but he is still influential. Raisi had sought to improve ties with Azerbaijan, including water projects on the Aras River and discussions about transportation links. These initiatives may now face delays or even reversals. Yerevan's strategic significance for Tehran's relationship with Moscow and its broader regional ambitions will not diminish; indeed, their bilateral military-industrial cooperation has only grown since Russia's re-invigoration of its war of aggression against Ukraine in February 2022. At the same time, Tehran's relations with Baku are more complicated, for myriad present-day and historical reasons, not least but not only concerning the Azerbaijani minority in Iran.   The South Caucasus and Trans-Caspian Implications Armenia and Azerbaijan are nevertheless persevering in their bilaterally-based practical cooperation and peace negotiations, now proceeding without third-party mediation. The most recent high-level meeting in this process took place between their respective foreign ministers in Almaty on May 10–11. These significant discussions followed talks between them in Berlin in February of this year, and they took place in the context of ongoing efforts to delimit and demarcate the two countries' common border. Delimitation refers to drawing and describing lines on maps, whereas demarcation is the process of installing physical markers on the territory. Demarcation has already begun in the sensitive Tovuz region, and the Russian contingent assisting Armenian border guards under a bilateral agreement has already been withdrawn. In April, as a result of this process, Armenia returned four villages to Azerbaijan. Unresolved issues involve territorial claims against Azerbaijan in Armenia's constitution and the reopening of regional transit routes. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's initiative for the necessary constitutional reforms, along with his border-demarcation initiatives and continuing peace negotiations, have provoked anti-government protests in Armenia, fueled by the irredentist and xenophobic segments of the diaspora, which are the best established, most...

Digitalization Eases Cargo Processing on the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route

On 30 April , Singaporean company Global DTC gave a presentation of multimodal platforms Digital Trade Corridor and Tez Customs at Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Transport. The demonstration reiterated benefits afforded by digitalization in ensuring transparency and high-speed transit of goods through Kazakhstan along the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR) connecting China and Europe through Central Asia and the Caucasus. The DTC platform, and particularly its Track & Trace service, allows shippers to track the location of cargo and its customs status online, as well as update information on transport documents along the entire route. Work on the technical integration for Track & Trace in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan has now been completed, and its integration in Georgia is ongoing. Negotiations are also underway with Chinese and European partners. The introduction of the Tez Customs platform, by offering automated, paperless customs transit clearance, registration and electronic transit declaration, has reduced processing to just 30 minutes. During the first quarter of this year, cargo traffic along the TITR increased by 33% compared to the same period last year.  

What Will Uzbekistan’s Role in Central Asia’s Connectivity Be?

By Robert M. Cutler A new World Bank report on Central Asian connectivity published in April 2024 highlights the importance of the Middle Corridor, a trade route spanning Central Asia, the Caspian Sea, and the Caucasus, connecting China and East Asia with Georgia, Turkey, and Europe. This corridor is seen as a critical alternative to Russian-controlled routes, especially in light of recent geopolitical tensions. The World Bank identifies ten steps to address bottlenecks in the Middle Corridor, aiming to increase trade volumes by tripling them by 2030. This would significantly reduce travel times and increase trade volumes to 11 million tons, with proper investment and efficiency measures in place.   Uzbekistan and the Middle Corridor The report emphasizes the need for a "holistic" approach to improving transport connectivity in Central Asia. By this, it means a comprehensive and integrated strategy that combines improvements in infrastructure and logistics improvements with a reduction in border delays and tariffs, along with the harmonization of standards across countries. This includes improving both physical and digital infrastructure, enhancing governance and efficiency and addressing productivity issues amongst the state-owned enterprises that dominate the transport sectors in the region. The World Bank notes that Uzbekistan would profit from better rail connections with Kazakhstan; yet it does not identify any potentials for such projects. That is likely because a report by the Bank identified the Trans-Caspian International Trade Route (TITR) through southern Kazakhstan as the preferred program for international support.  Uzbekistan's participation in the Middle Corridor is still in a developmental stage. Tashkent has an active interest and a strategic geographic location, but concrete actions and project details are still emerging. There have been no public announcements about specific infrastructure projects or investments that Uzbekistan is undertaking within the Middle Corridor framework. It can be foreseen, however, that railway modernization should be high on the list of programs. There is, however, a new railway project - the Darbaza–Maktaaral line - currently underway in Kazakhstan that could be extended to improve connectivity with Uzbekistan. It is projected for completion in 2025. A second phase including an extension to Kazakhstan's Syrdarya station could then facilitate a further branch line from Syrdarya to Zhetysai, on the border with Uzbekistan. This project would reduce congestion at the existing Saryagash border crossing between the two countries and thus increase the capacity for transporting goods between the two countries by as much as 10 million tons per year.   The Middle Corridor and improvements to digital connectivity At present, the region has only limited connectivity.  The Central Asian countries have heavily invested in infrastructure since the turn of the century, but the region still lags behind middle-income countries in both investment and maintenance. Most areas continue to suffer from insufficient infrastructure and expensive services. These in turn hinder the potential for internal and external trade. The World Bank's report also provides a comprehensive analysis of the challenges and opportunities for enhancing connectivity in Central Asia. For this purpose, it focuses on both physical and...

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