Turkmenistan has turned not only into regional center but also plays the key role in establishment of connecting point of the region with the world.
In his speeches, from the high tribunes of International organizations the President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasizes the need to strengthen cooperation in strategically important areas such as transport, energy, industry and trade to achieve sustainable development goals.
It should be noted that these strategic areas were also highlighted in Turkmenistan’s priorities for the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.
Turkmenistan is known as a reliable partner in organizing UN meetings and talks at various levels on these issues. Evidence of these achievements is the UN General Assembly’s numerous resolutions on the transit of energy resources and sustainable transport, as well as the rescue of the Aral Sea.
The President of Turkmenistan also put forward a number of initiatives as a comprehensive consideration of the issue of ensuring stable international transport in emergencies.
The active role of Turkmen diplomacy in the organization of multilateral talks and the creation of platforms allows us to conclude common agreements on the implementation of regional plans and projects such as the Aral Sea, water, energy and transport diplomacy.
At this point of my article I would like to bring some examples of the realization of significant transnational projects.
Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran – transnational railway
The construction of the railway Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran was launched on December 1, 2007. It was put into operation on December 3, 2014.
Speaking about the historical importance of the transnational railway, its significance has increased as the center of the world trade and production shifts to Asia increasing the importance of access to Asian markets. Transnational railway offers a powerful incentive to the social and economic development of the countries participating in the project and has created new jobs. All this promotes growing of the wellbeing, increasing the level and improving the quality of people’s life.
The total length of the railway, which stretches from the steppes of Kazakhstan across the Karakum Desert to mountainous Golestan Province in northern Iran, is 900 kilometres.
The railway was cost-effective for ample opportunities it opened up to transport goods, including transit goods, along the shortest route. It is planned to convey passengers along this railway in the future. The existing production capacity set the task of exploring new markets for their products to the two neighbouring countries that have no navigable route to the ocean. The completion of construction of the railway section across the territory of Iran will make it possible to increase transportation of goods to the Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia.
This project provides that this railway will be connected to transport networks eastwards and southwards and provide an outlet to the economic centres, such as China, India, Pakistan, the Asia-Pacific region. In its turn, it is a good example of the new way of global geo-economic thinking and the views on the strategic further development of global geo-economics.
There are great prospects of the project for enhancing cooperation within the international and regional organisations, including the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Economic Cooperation Organization, in terms of the vision of the region as a strong link in the chain of strategic stability in the southern belt of Eurasia, a promising economic partner, a major transportation and transit hub of the continental importance. It is a vital component of the North-South transport corridor on the Eurasian continent.
Turkmenbashi International Seaport
On May 2, 2018, Turkmenbashi International Seaport was opened on the Turkmen coast of Caspian Sea. It is part of the Great Silk Road, which marks Turkmenistan’s return to its historic role as a strategic centre in the global logistics system.
The total area of the seaport exceeds 1,358 million square meters and the total length of the pier is 3600 meters, making it possible to serve several cargo and passenger vessels at a time.
The international seaport boasts ferry, passenger and container terminals, as well as a shipbuilding and ship-repair yard.
In addition to the berthing facilities, there are many coastal infrastructure facilities, including transport facilities such as roads with overpasses with a total length of more than 3,9 thousand meters and railway tracks stretching for some 30 thousand meters.
The average capacity of the seaport is about 17 million tons of cargo, excluding petroleum products. It can serve 300 thousand passengers, 75 thousand trucks and 400 thousand containers a year.
As for the engineering “stuffing” of the new seaport, it is equipped with modern software and hardware systems to ensure safety and efficiency of navigation and cargo transportation, as well as environmental protection.
The seaport will give an additional powerful impetus to the economic growth of Turkmenistan, development of industrial and transport infrastructure of the region, creation of new jobs and attraction of investments in the Turkmen economy.
Agreement on the joint project – the international transit and transport corridor along the route Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey (Lapis Lazuli) was signed in Ashgabat on November 15, 2017.
The fulfillment of the project on the creation of transcontinental transit transport corridor will serve to strengthen regional and international trade and economic relations, global sustainable development.
On January 14, 2021, the events on occasion of the opening of 30-km railroad between Akina and Andhoy stations of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, 153-km 500 KV power line between Kerky (Turkmenistan) and Shibargan (Afghanistan) as well as international fiber optic Ymamnazar – Akina and Serhetabat – Turgundy communication lines were held in Turkmenabat.
Development of energy and transboundary transport and communication systems is an actual term of dynamic economic growth of our states. This is an important foundation for improvement of wealth of the people, opening of additional work places, attraction of big foreign investments.
Opening of Akina – Andhoy railroad and other infrastructural projects are significant measures on the way of further expansion of cooperation and are important parts of our perspective of regional relations and integration.
Connecting new logistic routes to Akina – Andhoy and Turgundy – Herat railroads, their role as important links of international transport corridor, which stretches from Caspian Sea to Indian Ocean, will grow.
During the opening ceremony, Turkmen Leader has proposed to open Unified Logistic Center for coordination of cargo flows and improvement of efficiency of operation of the corridor, to establish single pricing policy and to simplify customs operations using Single Window System as well as to make digital atlas of Afghanistan – Turkmenistan – Azerbaijan route.
Transport projects are aimed at giving a powerful impetus to the long-term development of thestates, creating a reliable, rapidly growing energy, transport and communication system in this part of the Earth, as a very important and integral part of modern world economic relations.
Also, fiber-optic communication lines Imamnazar – Akina and Serhetabat – Turghundi (Afghanistan) were put into operation.
With the launch of new international fiber-optic communication lines, it will be possible to increase transit network traffic through Turkmenistan, to ensure its transmission to Afghanistan and further to Pakistan. It will also increase the speed of data transfer and guarantee a reliable communication link between Turkmenistan and the IRA. The new lines will help increase the speed of information flow between the countries of Europe, Asia and Southeast Asia up to 100 Gbps, and in the future – up to 6 Tbps.
This big infrastructural projects have strategic importance for all countries of Central Asia and Caspian basin as its realization brings out our states to new level of relations supporting their active integration into international system of economic relations and improvement of the role of Turkmenistan as important centre of transit communications.
The history itself makes as responsible for the development of partnership, which will be useful not only to the peoples of our countries but also will support sustainable development, stability, security and progress in Eurasian space. Turkmenistan, same as the centuries ago, is the heart of this ancient route.
Today, our country becomes important transport hub of the region and turns into large logistic centre owing to its advantageous geographic location and constructive foreign policy of the President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov who makes relevant proposals on cooperation with foreign countries and takes steadfast measures for their practical implementation.
Transport infrastructure meeting international standards is created, new roads and transnational railways, railway stations, airports are built, modern ships are procured, railway and automobile bridges connecting not only the regions inside the country but also neighbouring states are erected for this.
Nowadays, Turkmenistan pays utmost attention to realization of its transit and transport potential as important factor supporting successful solution of the objectives on increment of the rates of country’s industrialization, diversification of the economy, development of fruitful international cooperation in these spheres. Network of modern transport East – West and North – South communications including sea, air and land transportation opening wide perspectives for activation of beneficial regional and continental trade and economic relations in Eurasia is formed up steadily for this purpose.
In this regard, Turkmenistan has recently been working on revitalizing the project to create an international transport corridor on the Caspian Sea-Black Sea route, which is a quadrilateral agreement.
A special Ministerial meeting was held in Bucharest on March 3-4, 2019 at the Caspian-Black Sea Transport Corridor project, as a result of which the parties signed the Bucharest Declaration.
On June 23-25, 2019, a meeting of the Expert Group of the Project on the Establishment of the Caspian Sea – Black Sea International Transport Corridor was held. The meeting was attended by delegations from Turkmenistan, Romania, Georgia, as well as Azerbaijan.
At present, cooperation has been established between the Turkmenbashi International Port and the Port of Constance. The two transport infrastructure agencies are cooperating to establish new routes for cargo transportation on the Caspian-Black Sea international transport route.
On August 12, 2019, a delegation led by the Secretary of State of the Romanian Ministry of Transport attended the First Caspian Economic Forum.
Within the framework of the forum, a meeting of the delegation led by the Secretary of State with the heads of the „Turkmendenizderyayollary” agency was organized.
Despite the worldwide pandemic, online meetings of experts are underway to discuss the draft of the Quartet Agreement on the International Transport Corridor on the Caspian Sea – Black Sea Route.
In this regard, in the future, Turkmenistan will make all the necessary efforts to implement the project of the Caspian Sea-Black Sea International Transport Corridor and launch the project, launching a new route for transport and freight traffic on the Caspian Sea-Black Sea route.
The availability of modern, high-tech transport infrastructure is of paramount importance for increasing the efficiency of freight transportation, which is available in Turkmenistan which has built many transnational railways, international seaport and autobans through its territory lately.