At the 1st meeting of the ministers of transport of the Central Asian countries and China, Turkmenistan came up with initiatives25.09.2023 | 16:32 |
The Global Forum on Sustainable Transport takes place in Beijing from 25 to 26 September. The event was organized by the Ministry of Transport of the People's Republic of China and a Global center for innovation and knowledge in the field of sustainable transport and includes a plenary session, a ministerial round table, thematic sessions, and an exhibition.
Representatives of transport departments and related businesses from various countries, including Turkmenistan, gathered to exchange views on five key themes, namely connectivity, shared development, innovation-led development, green development and global governance.
Today, within the framework of the Global Forum, the First Meeting of the Ministers of Transport of the countries of Central Asia and China took place. This meeting represents a new important platform through which the six countries will contribute to the development of investment opportunities in the region, the realization of its competitive and preferential advantages based on its geographical location and transport-transit potential.
Turkmenistan was represented at the meeting by the Agency of Transport and Communications under the Cabinet of Ministers of the country. In his speech, Deputy Director General of the Agency Batyr Annaev noted that Turkmenistan attaches great importance to the development of strategic partnerships with the People's Republic of China and other Central Asian countries and sees enormous opportunities for expanding transport corridors in Central Asia, which will contribute to the economic recovery of each state in the region.
Turkmenistan is ready to actively promote the implementation of such large-scale initiatives as “One Belt, One Road”, and in recent years has invested significant funds in the modernization and development of its transport infrastructure.
Most of the diesel locomotives and electric vehicles and communication systems purchased by Turkmenistan today are supplied from China. A joint project for the construction of a dredging vessel at a national shipyard with the participation of Chinese partners is also being successfully implemented. Representative offices of the Transport and Logistics Center of Turkmenistan and our national air carrier operate in China, which helps strengthen bilateral cooperation in the transport sector, Annaev noted.
He also told his colleagues about a number of large-scale infrastructure projects implemented in Turkmenistan in order to expand the country’s transit capabilities. This is the construction of roads and railways, sea and river ports, logistics terminals and transshipment complexes.
The importance of the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway for increasing trade and transit between our countries and connecting to other regional and international transport corridors was also noted. Thus, as part of the development of the international North-South corridor, together with partners from Russia, Kazakhstan and Iran, preferential tariffs for rail container transportation along the eastern branch of this route were agreed upon in order to provide an end-to-end single tariff for shippers along the entire route. A regular container train has already been launched along the North-South ITC. According to preliminary forecasts, by 2025 the total volume of export traffic from Russia alone along the eastern branch of this route could reach more than 5 million tons per year.
The Turkmen side also highly appreciates Tajikistan’s efforts to create a modern transit infrastructure designed to connect transport hubs with China and make the country one of the key transport corridors in global supply chains. In this context, Turkmenistan’s great interest in the project for the construction of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway, which will give a powerful impetus to the development of transport links in Central Asia, was noted.
Such projects will help transform the region into a key transit hub, developing trade and cargo transit between China, Europe and the Gulf countries through Central Asia. Batyr Annaev also drew the attention of the heads of transport departments to the production facilities of the International Seaport in Turkmenbashi.
As a result of large-scale modernization and re-equipment, the main “sea gate” of the country has turned into a multifunctional transport hub, including various specialized terminals with a total throughput capacity of about 17 million tons of cargo per year, including 300 thousand passengers, 75 thousand trucks, 400 thousand containers, 3 million tons of bulk and 4 million tons of general cargo. The port can accommodate 17 ships at the same time.
This month, the Balkan national shipyard began construction of cargo ships and ferries, which will significantly enhance trade turnover and cargo transit across the Caspian Sea.
Turkmenistan is also actively involved in the construction of railways in Afghanistan, contributing to the revitalization of the economy of this country and the entire region as a whole. They will also make it possible to establish new transport routes connecting Central Asia with Afghanistan and further Pakistan, Batyr Annaev added.
The main outcome of the current event in Beijing should be the approval of a Memorandum of Understanding on the creation of a mechanism for the meeting of transport ministers “China - Central Asia”. This important agreement will lay the foundation for future efforts in transport infrastructure, logistics development and more efficient movement of goods and people in the region.
In this regard, the Turkmen side submitted a number of specific initiatives for consideration. This is the creation of joint transport and logistics enterprises and alliances between national carriers of China and Central Asian countries; development of an end-to-end tariff for container transportation along the route China - Central Asia - Europe; construction of dry ports and logistics hubs in border areas for the formation and processing of transit cargo flows; implementation of digital solutions for managing and monitoring cargo transportation in real time. A separate proposal concerns training and advanced training of personnel for the transport and logistics industry.
The implementation of such joint projects will qualitatively improve the level of transport integration and logistics services in the region, which has enormous potential for expanding transit capabilities and integration into global transport systems.