Under the chairmanship of Azerbaijan, a video conference was held between persons responsible for transport sector of the member countries of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States – Turkey, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as Hungary, an observer state.
Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ramin Guluzade, State Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Roads of Kyrgyzstan Ermek Mamyrkaliyev, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of Turkey Adil Karaismailoglu, Minister of Transport of Uzbekistan Elyor Ganiev, Chairman of the Transport Committee of the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development of Kazakhstan Samat Qilimov, Minister of State for Transport Policy of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology of Hungary Laszlo Mosoczi and Secretary General of the Turkic Council Baghdad Amreyev took part in the video conference.
Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies Ramin Guluzade said that the final declaration of the extraordinary summit of the Turkic Council, held on April 10 at the initiative of President Ilham Aliyev in the form of a video conference, emphasized the need to take appropriate measures to ensure the sustainability of transportation between countries during a pandemic. At the same time, the expediency of exchanging information between the heads of state and government on simplifying border crossing procedures for freight vehicles and the problems arising in this area was noted.
Noting that relations between member countries of the Turkic Council are at a high level in all areas, including transport, the Minister stressed the importance of organizing efficient cargo transportation in this hard times and taking effective joint measures to overcome difficulties.
Minister Ramin Guluzade spoke about the work carried out in accordance with international experience in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Azerbaijan: “All borders of the country are closed to passenger traffic. More than 15,000 citizens living abroad were brought to the country by charter flights. The country has completely suspended the activity of intercity, inter-regional transport and Baku Metro.”
The Minister also said that despite the suspension of passenger transport by air and land with neighboring countries, there are no restrictions on international freight transport in our country. According to him, border checkpoints in the country operate 24 hours a day and are always open for freight transport by road.
Minister Ramin Guluzade further noted that in the first quarter of this year, 52,405 vehicles, including 20,819 vehicles of foreign countries in transit performed international road transport through the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the border on the basis of bilateral and multilateral permits of the International Transport Forum. “Comparative statistics show that in the first quarter of this year, the number of foreign vehicles engaged in international road transport through the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan increased by 24 percent compared to the same period of last year, and the number of transit traffic increased by 32 percent.”
Noting the continuation of freight and container transportation through the Caspian Sea in the direction of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, the Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies said the period of validity of expired certificates and relevant inspections provided for by international conventions and local legislation, to which our country has joined in the field of maritime transport on ships sailing under the state flag of the Republic of Azerbaijan, was extended until July 1, 2020.
“In addition, restrictions on air-freight operations have been lifted at all international airports of the country, and now all necessary powers and permits, including express cargo flights are provided immediately. It was decided to extend the validity of certificates and permits issued to the aviation personnel of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as the temporary recognition of the certificates, the validity of which was extended by the aviation administrations of foreign countries,” said Ramin Guluzade.
The Minister also noted that in order to increase the country’s transit potential and cargo flows, Azerbaijan introduced additional concessions on transportation and transit fees in the pre-pandemic period and took other appropriate measures. These concessions are important for the carriers of the Turkic Council member states in terms of simplification of transport operations and reduction of transportation costs. For this reason, considering the sustainable use of the advantages of the route across the Caspian Sea for carriers moving from Europe to Asia could contribute to further increase in existing freight flows.
During the video conference, the current state of transport operations between the sides was discussed in the context of the restrictions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the same time, the necessary practical measures to ensure the unimpeded transportation of necessary goods – food, medicines and medical supplies, as well as the uninterrupted operation of the supply chain along the Trans-Caspian Corridor during the pandemic were discussed.
These practical measures include the implementation of appropriate measures by member countries to facilitate the transportation of goods, as well as the provision of practical assistance to facilitate the passage of trucks carrying humanitarian supplies, necessary consumer goods, medicines and medical goods across borders / checkpoints and the exchange of information on potential problems that may arise in this area. At the same time, practical measures include the flexible solution of issues that may arise during a pandemic, the establishment of an operational working group for effective coordination of transport and logistics between the ministries responsible for transport, the development of contactless foreign trade and multimodal transport systems along the Trans-Caspian Corridor between the sides.
Various proposals were also made for future cooperation between the sides in the post-pandemic period.
The Turkish side proposed to develop cooperation on the application of competitive and common tariffs.
Taking into account the launch and joint use of the Tashkent-Karakalpakia-Aktau-Baku-Tbilisi-Kars-Istanbul multimodal transport corridor, as well as the restrictions created by the pandemic, the Uzbek side called for taking additional measures to increase the efficiency of the “green corridors” for transit traffic of food, medical supplies and other necessary goods within the framework of the Turkic Council.
Making concluding remarks at the end of the video conference, Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies Ramin Guluzade said that the joint cooperation between the member countries of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States will ensure more efficient organization of cargo transportation and expressed confidence that these measures will contribute to the fight against the pandemic and will also serve the well-being of the countries in the years to come.
It was agreed that the results of the discussions on the issues on the agenda of the meeting will be summarized by the Secretariat of the Turkic Council and sent to the member states, and the relevant agencies of the member countries will review to take the necessary measures in this regard and submit their information and proposals.