Experts from Central Asian countries discussed prospects for transport and logistics cooperation in the region
Turkmen experts took part in an online conference on the topic "The state and prospects of development of transport and logistics infrastructure of Central Asian countries as an important factor in ensuring interconnectedness in the region".
The conversation on this extremely topical topic was initiated by the Institute for Strategic and Interregional Studies under the President of Uzbekistan. Leading analytical centers of Central Asian countries and Germany (Friedrich Ebert Foundation) were invited to participate in the discussion. Turkmenistan was represented by the Center for Strategic Studies of the Institute of International Relations (CSI IMO) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, specialists of the motor transport and railway departments, the association "Turkmen Logistika".
The topic of transport interconnectedness has sounded recently, especially in the post-pandemic period with special force, it is raised at international forums and high-level meetings as a matter of key importance for countries, regions and the world economy. For Central Asia, it is of great importance, since due to the geographical location of the states of the region do not have access to open waters and, consequently, free access to large global markets.
In this regard, the Central Asian countries bear significant transit and transportation costs, which reach 70-80% of the value of exports of products. In general, the lack of a comprehensive approach to improve regional transport connectivity, according to experts, limits the region's GDP growth by 15%.
At the same time, the pandemic and its consequences, the disruption of logistics chains, the congestion of international seaports, the exhaustion/narrowing of the Suez Canal capacity have led to the dysfunction of traditional transport, transit and logistics networks. Moreover, the sanctions policy against Russia and Belarus limits the possibilities of the northern transport corridors, through which a significant part of the transportation of goods of the Central Asian countries was carried out.
In the emerging new transport and logistics environment, there is a cardinal transformation of international transport and the search for new alternative routes for cargo delivery. On the one hand, this carries risks, on the other hand, it opens up previously untapped opportunities. In these conditions, there is a need to intensify the expert dialogue in order to identify promising areas of cooperation and develop mutually acceptable solutions.
In particular, we are talking about expanding and deepening cooperation on such transport corridors as the Trans-Caspian Route, Central Asia-Persian Gulf, TRACECA, etc. The development of consolidated approaches to the diversification of foreign trade routes, more intensive involvement of the region in continental transport links should contribute to the transformation of Central Asia into an international transport and logistics hub, a key link of transport corridors along the routes "North-South" and "West-East".
In his speech at the conference, Director of the CSI IMO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Shiri Shiriev drew the attention of colleagues to the efforts of his country on this track. As a fresh example, he cited The agreements reached during the recent Turkmen-Kazakh talks in Astana on promoting the capabilities of the Kazakhstan–Turkmenistan–Iran railway, deepening cooperation between the ports of Aktau, Kuryk and Turkmenbashi.
At the recent events in Ashgabat Turkmen-Uzbek negotiation at the top, the transport sector is also defined as one of the strategic areas of cooperation. The Heads of state agreed to actively develop corridors along the East–West and North–South lines, including using the capabilities of the Turkmenbashi port.
Shiri Shiriev also recalled that earlier this month a six-party Iran-Central Asia ministerial meeting was held in Tehran, following the results of which signed документ, aimed at increasing the volume of cargo transportation in the North-South direction to 20 million tons.
In general, Turkmenistan's international cooperation is based on the vision of the Central Asian region and the Caspian Basin as a strong link of strategic stability, a reliable economic partner for European and Asian countries, and a transport and transit hub of continental importance.
In turn, Geldymurad Amanov, a specialist in international relations of the association "Turkmen Logistika", speaking at the conference, called the fact of the launch of a pilot project Global Transit document a significant contribution to the digitalization of global supply chains within the framework of the Ashgabat process.
The implementation of the digital concept of the international transport corridor will increase logistical interconnectedness, open up new integration opportunities in this sector, and increase mutual and regional trade turnover.
"Turkmen Logistika" unites more than 150 companies, the result of which is an increase in transit cargo flows through the countries, and their capabilities and experience allow for transportation of any technical complexity. For example, the company "Beyik Yupek Ely" organized the transportation of heavy oversized equipment for the construction of a complex for the production of nitric acid from the seaport of Turkmenbashi to Uzbekistan.
Following the results of the online conference, experts jointly developed practical recommendations for the further development of mutually beneficial cooperation between the Central Asian countries in the transport, transit and logistics spheres.