Trans-Caspian International Transport Corridor is at the center of attention of the European Union
The Global Gateway Investors Forum on sustainable transport connectivity between Europe and Central Asia, organized by the European Commission, was held in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, on 29–30 January.
The main objective of the event was to better assess the potential of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Corridor (TITC) as a reliable and efficient trade links between Europe and Asia in a global supply chain that is being reshaped especially against the background of related geopolitical challenges in the region.
The main topic of discussion at the global forum was the necessary infrastructure and operational improvement processes required to transform this corridor, which has the potential to carry traffic within 15 days from the China–Kazakhstan border, into the most modern, multimodal and efficient route connecting Europe and Central Asia, and the investments required to realize them.
The event brought together high-level delegates from the European Commission, EU member states, Central Asia, the Caucasus and Türkiye, as well as G7 countries, financial institutions and private sector representatives.
A delegation headed by Fariz Aliyev, Department Head of the Ministry of Digital Development and Transport of the Republic of Azerbaijan, also took part in this prestigious forum. The delegation included officials from Azerbaijan Railways CJSC, Baku International Sea Trade Port CJSC and Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company CJSC.
Speaking at the panel of the forum “South Caucasus and Turkiye: strong transport link between Central Asia and Europe”, Fariz Aliyev talked about Azerbaijan’s role in the Middle Corridor, transport infrastructure projects implemented in the country for the development of the corridor, construction and reconstruction of roads and railways, as well as projects of international importance such as Baku–Tbilisi–Kars and Baku International Sea Trade Port. In this context, the important prospects of the East Zangezur–Nakhchivan–Kars link, which will become an important component of the region’s transport network in terms of increasing the capacity of the corridor and deepening regional integration processes.
Information was also provided on the work done to improve operational processes, simplification of border crossing procedures, wider application of digital solutions in transport and significant growth of transit freight traffic over the last 5 years in order to ensure stability of the supply chain. The representative of Azerbaijan stressed that the country is ready to cooperate with international financial institutions and global companies in the direction of further development of the transport sector of the country, construction of infrastructure that meets international standards. According to him, all favourable conditions have been created for this purpose.
At the same time, Fariz Aliyev talked of the achievements in the direction of turning Azerbaijan into a regional transit-trade hub as a result of farsighted policy of the head of state, as well as measures taken on joint cooperation with countries along the corridor to enhance the competitiveness of the Middle Corridor. He also drew attention to the establishment of a joint venture, Middle Corridor Multimodal LLC, which will act as the single operator of the corridor together with the railways of Kazakhstan and Georgia.
It should be noted that during the forum, the participants announced that European and international financial institutions will allocate financial resources to ensure sustainable transport connectivity through the Middle Corridor, build the necessary infrastructure and provide technical support. A number of important commitments have already been made in this direction. Thus, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed separate contracts worth €1.47 billion with the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Kazakhstan worth a total of €1.5 billion. It is expected that the signing of similar agreements on the Trans-Caspian Corridor will continue. It is believed that such cooperation will greatly contribute to strengthening global logistics links between Europe and Asia and further enhance the importance of the corridor.