The first Middle Corridor joint venture has just been established
What has been in the pipeline since early 2022 is now a reality. Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgian railways just sealed a deal to establish a joint venture on a parity basis. The new company will be named ‘Middle Corridor Multimodal Ltd.’ and will provide “services on a one-stop-shop principle, guarantee delivery times, and pursue a coordinated policy for developing multimodal service in the direction of China – Europe and Turkey – China.”
The idea of setting up a Middle Corridor railway joint venture first surfaced in 2022, after the first months of the war in Ukraine put the Trans-Caspian route under the spotlight of Eurasian transport. The inefficiencies and bottlenecks characterising the corridor called for such a development in an attempt to make it a more efficient solution for companies seeking to avoid Russia and logistical complications stemming from sanctions.
Gaidar Abdikerimov, secretary-general of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route Association (TITR) had disclosed in April 2022 that “a joint venture was in the making.” He also mentioned that the company would be ready in “the beginning- middle of 2023.”
Last June, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan announced that they had reached an agreement to establish a single Middle Corridor operating company and said that they expected Georgia to join them as well soon. This single company would focus on tariff unification, handling all cargo in the Middle Corridor and dropping transit times to 10-15 days. A few months later, their plans are confirmed, and the next step is to see how this much-expected company will make a difference along the Trans-Caspian route.