NUR-SULTAN — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is conducting a study tour to Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia, to find opportunities to increase trade along the Trans-Caspian route on May 16-24, the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan reported.
This international transport corridor is an alternative means for transporting goods from Central Asia to Europe, having great potential for trade and business development. Recently Central Asian governments have placed great focus on increasing the transport of cargo via the Caspian Sea, as traders encounter growing problems in moving their goods through the current transit routes.
This study tour is being implemented by USAID’s Trade Central Asia activity in collaboration with the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA) and KazLogistics, the Union of Transport workers of Kazakhstan.
In his welcoming remarks USAID/Central Asia’s Regional Trade Officer, Robert Parker, said that the “Trans-Caspian Corridor route can play an important role as a means to trade goods from Central Asia with Caucasus and European countries. USAID welcomes the cooperation of these countries, and supports decisions that will lead to an increase of regional trade and investments.”
A delegation of over 40 customs representatives and staff of transport policy government agencies of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as members of the Central Asia Transport and Logistics Partnership, are visiting the Caspian Sea ports at Alyat and Kuryk, and the Batumi Port on the Black Sea. They are studying each port’s pricing policy, reviewing processes utilized, and learning about digitization initiatives, thereby helping them develop recommendations for further simplifying procedures.
Also joining the tour will be representatives of national associations of road carriers, logistics companies and freight forwarders, seaports and shipping companies from Azerbaijan, Georgia and Central Asian nations, directly involved in international road transport. Participants from Bulgaria and Turkey are invited to familiarize themselves with the possibility of facilitating international road transport through their domestic territories.
Simultaneously, USAID has piloted the shipping of pre-selected cargo along the proposed alternative route, from Central Asia through the port of Kuryk in Kazakhstan via Azerbaijan, Georgia to Turkey, to identify the specific issues carriers may face when transiting these ports.
The goal of USAID’s Trade Central Asia activity is to improve region-wide trade connectivity and harmonization to accelerate economic growth and increase economic opportunity in Central Asia, through harmonizing customs and border procedures, increasing public-private dialogue on cross-border trade and investment, improving cross-border firm-to-firm connectivity, and addressing gender relevant trade issues.