Middle Corridor joint venture to be established in 2023
The establishment of a Middle Corridor joint venture has been confirmed by Gaidar Abdikerimov, secretary-general of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route association (TITR). A Joint Venture between Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Kazakhstan is in the pipeline and will probably be officially ready in the beginning or middle of 2023.
Abdikerimov confirmed the news during the RailFreight Summit Special Edition. “Yes, a joint venture is officially in the making, but we should wait at least until the end of the year. Most probably, though, the company will be official in the beginning- middle of 2023”, he said.
Such a joint venture will add value to the Middle Corridor since it will “facilitate transhipment processes and make the passage through different countries and modalities smoother”, added Abdikerimov.
On 31 March, four countries – Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Kazakhstan – signed a quadrilateral statement on the development of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Corridor, aimed at strengthening cooperation and increasing the transit potential of the countries along the corridor.
The statement emphasised the importance of cooperation between the countries along the route and investment in infrastructure development to integrate the Trans-Caspian transport corridor into the international transport system. One of the priorities is to increase the competitive advantage of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway line in Euro-Asian transport and accelerate the implementation of works to increase the capacity of this line.
Earlier, Batyr Kotyrev, Chief Engineer and Head of the Technical Policy Department of KTZ, Kazakhstan’s state railway company, also said that legal and diplomatic work was underway to create a joint venture by uniting the railway administrations of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan.
This joint venture would provide high-quality intermodal transport and logistics services, harmonise cross-border rates, and introduce a unified IT platform to fully automate cargo transport services from China to Turkey and the Black Sea ports. There are also plans to link up with the International North-South Freight Corridor (INSTC) through the Caspian Sea ports, thus extending the corridor to Iran, the Arab countries along the Persian Gulf, East Africa and India.
This article was written in cooperation with Huilin Shi, editor at RailFreight.cn.