Bahrain wants in on the INSTC

Image: Government of Turkmenistan

The Kingdom of Bahrain signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Turkmenistan to become part of the International North-South Transport Corridor. Turkmenistan Railways and Bahrain’s Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunication have agreed to connect the two countries by rail via Iran.

Considering that Bahrain is an island, goods will first be transported by ship to the Iranian south coast. For this reason, MoUs were signed for cooperation in both marine and railway transport. From there, the cargo will be moved on rail to reach Turkmenistan. The MoU was signed after a meeting between Bahrain’s king Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa and Turkmenistan’s president Serdar Berdimuhamedov.

In recent times, an increasing number of countries in the Eurasian Economic Union have been keen to join the INSTC. For example, three weeks ago, Belarus’ prime minister expressed an interest in being involved in the project. Moreover, there is the Eurasian Agroexpress rail logistics project, which aims to expand the INSTC outside its borders and include Iran, the United Arab Emirates, India, and Turkmenistan. This trend is likely explained by the packages of sanctions imposed by the EU on Russia, Belarus, and Iran.

Turkmenistan’s first official visit to Bahrain

Berdimuhamedov visited Bahrain on Thursday 22 February. During this visit, the two countries signed various cooperation agreements. Some of these revolve around air communication, marine and rail transportation, and cooperation between the State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan and the Bahrain Development Bank.

Image: © Government of Turkmenistan

The foundations for all these agreements were laid already in 2019 when Bahrain’s king visited Turkmenistan. Back then, the parties discussed the potential development of the relationship between the two countries, including trade and transport. During the event in Bahrain, Berdimuhamedov was awarded the highest award of the Kingdom of Bahrain: Order of Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa of the first degree.

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Author: Marco Raimondi

Marco Raimondi is an editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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