By 2025, the Caspian countries can make a total of $4 billion on mutual exports of non-primary, non-energy goods. This was stated at the session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), by Azer Talibov, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation. According to him, it is evidenced by the special calculations carried out by the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.
For this, the five Caspian countries – Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Russia – need to jointly build a new economy of the region, including infrastructure modernization, removal of customs and border barriers, as well as attraction of new investors. Caspian transport corridors will attract players from Asia, including such economic giants as China and India.
The deputy minister says, some countries have already dealt with this issue and created the transshipment facilities with extra capacity. “We also need to increase investment in the creation of infrastructure such as port, road, railway, as well as in the creation of storage and distribution complexes, customs terminals,” Talibov said.
The new economy of the Caspian Sea also requires the removal of administrative and customs barriers between countries, the introduction of special administrative regimes (for example, green corridors on the borders of the Caspian states). For countries, harmonization of legislation, rules and tariffs would be most difficult task, the deputy minister noted. However, without this, there do not appear to be sufficient reasons for the Caspian route,
By mid-2020, cargo traffic along the North-South route (the corridor includes Caspian routes) can reach 17 million tons, which is 2.5 times more than the current volumes. “Taking into account the projected increase in the mutual export base of countries in the corridor zone, the volume of freight traffic can reach 30 million tons in absolute terms by 2030,” said Talibov.
By connecting routes and leveling tariffs, the Caspian littoral states will attract consignors. “For a customer, it’s important to know only one thing: how much it would cost and how long it would take to ship from Singapore to Finland. There should be consolidated tariff; while the time should be, let’s say, 15 days. Today it looks unrealistic – but this fantasy can become a reality if we come together to solve the problem,” the Deputy Minister of Economic Development believes.