National transport strategy is based on the idea of restoration of the Silk Road initiated by the Head of the State. This route run across the territory of Central Asia for many centuries. Turkmen leader highlights that in modern conditions, this transcontinental route is to support the realization of considerable economic potential of Turkmenistan and other states of the region by their integration to the world transport system.
Understanding the necessity of comprehensive development of transport section, our country pays great attention to establishment of modern infrastructure in this sphere initiating and steadily implementing big regional and transcontinental projects together with interested partners both with separate states and with competent international organizations.
Opening of Kazakhstan – Turkmenistan – Iran railway, which construction was initiated by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, is one of the examples of this. This international route is able to transport up to 10 – 12 million tons of cargo per year. Transit capabilities of this road, which became an important link of the North – South and east – West transport corridors, attract increased attention of the foreign partners including the People’s Republic of China.
According to the Ministry of Railway Transport of Turkmenistan, containers shipments of cargo from the PRC to the Islamic Republic of Iran via the territory of our country have increased 1.5 times comparing with the same period of the last year. Total length of China – Kazakhstan – Turkmenistan – Iran route is around 10 thousand kilometres. Time for delivery of cargo from different industrial centres of the PRC is about two weeks, which is two times less than by sea.
It is worth reminding that several test train rides consisting of 40 – 50 containers were taken for establishment of regular railway traffic and regulation of logistics of each country participating in this transit and transport project. The trains have been sent from Yìwū (eastern province of Zhèjiāng), Chángshā (Húnán province in the south of China), Yínchuān (autonomic region in the central part of the PRC) as well as from Xian and Bayannur in the north of the country.
Following the requirements of the suppliers and transporters, there are two routes for cargo trains in Turkmenistan – from Serhetyaka railway station on the border with Kazakhstan until Serakhs to southern east border with Iran or to Akyayla station Turkmenistan and Incheburun (Iran).
Normally, the trains cover this distance ahead of the schedule due to new modern railroads and modernized stations including Bereket distribution station, where new locomotive depot provided with advanced equipment and technologies has been put into operation.
Reduction of time on the route reduces transport expenses accordingly improving economic profitability of the route. Therefore, Kazakhstan – Turkmenistan – Iran railway became the main cargo direction in the region connecting its big economic centres.
This is also indicated by the fact that comparing with the same period of the last year, the volume of cargo traffic on Serhetyaka – Akyayla increased 3.5 times and 2 times in opposite direction from Iran via Turkmenistan to Kazakhstan.
Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Tajikistan railroad became important component of transport communication between the countries of Asian region. Kerky – Imamnazar – Akina, which is the first section of Asian International railway corridor that would provide the entry to China, India and seaports of Pakistan, was put in operation in November 2016.
The project was carried out by the departments of the Ministry of Railroad Transport of Turkmenistan. It required many efforts and resources for development of this route in severe desert conditions.
Thus, new railway stations, locomotive depots, bridges, addition detour railways and other infrastructural facilities have been built along the railway. New terminal for loading, storage and offloading of oil products has been built on Ymamnazar Custom point. Turkmen specialists have also built the section of the railway from Imamnazar to Akina in Afghanistan.
2018, which is held under slogan “Turkmenistan – the Heart of the Great Silk Road”, was marked with big projects in transport sphere. For example, Serhetabat – Turgundy railroad has been opened in February. President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Shahid Hakan Abassi and State Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of India Mobashar Javed Akbar who arrived in our country took part in the opening ceremony.
Construction of Turkmen – Afghan road was undertaken by Turkmenistan, which provides comprehensive support and help to fraternal nation. Owing to the modernization of the railway, which was literally rebuild by the Ministry of Railroad Transport of our country, throughput capacity of Turgundy railway station has been increased and its importance in the trade turnover of Afghanistan has been improved. Entry of Afghan production to the world markets as well as supply of import goods to Afghanistan by short optimum way became possible.
Involvement of Afghanistan to the projects of formation of ramified transport infrastructure in the region will give the opportunity to the country to use its geographic dividends as transport and transit hub in Eurasia.
Idea of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov about inclusion of Afghanistan to transport and logistic system of Turkmenistan and to international transport communication network via our country is implemented after opening of Serhetabat (Turkmenistan) – Turgundy (Afghanistan). Railroads and highways connect Turgundy with Ashgabat and with Turkmenbashy International Seaport in Caspian Sea. After, the corridor is continued across Caspian Sea to Baku, Tbilisi and toward Ankara and Istanbul.
It is worth mentioning that volumes of cargo traffic by Kerky – Imamnazar – Akina and Serhetabat – Turgundy increased two times comparing with the same period of the last year. Hence, the requirements in these railroads is obvious, their importance will grow once new territories, projects and logistic networks will be covered.
Providing reliable transport transit, which is successfully used by dozens of countries, Turkmenistan pays great attention to the provision of railroad system with modern equipment like locomotives, comfortable passenger carriages, specialized carriages and tankers for oil and oil products, liquefied gas, cement, mineral fertilizers, grain. It opens big perspectives for further increment of volumes, expansion of the geography of transit and transport of cargo and passengers.
In this regard, it is necessary to make special mention of that great importance of new Turkmenbashy International Seaport, which was put into operation in May this year, for all countries of Central Asia and Caspian basin. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov notes that this super modern complex is to become important link of international transport infrastructure and to bring economic and trade cooperation between the countries of Asia and Europe to new level, to optimize transport routes on the continent, having connected many of them in Turkmenistan.
The main sea harbour of the country includes ferry, passenger and container terminals provided with powerful loading and offloading equipment. Multimodal logistic fleet has capability to provide the complex of services for storage and combined processing of container cargoes delivered by air, roads and railways providing the further loading on sea transport and vice versa.
For example, railway parking is designated for 450 carriages. Container terminal with annual output of 400 thousand standard shipping containers allows loading and offloading of three vessels with 5,000 tons cargo capacity simultaneously. It is actively used today for processing of cargo following in transit via our country to Afghanistan and from Uzbekistan to Europe, etc.
Bulk cargo terminal is designated for transhipment various resource materials, petrochemical production, clinker, iron ore, bauxite, aluminium, coal, fertilizers as well as grain, sugar, salt, etc., for storage of which warehouses and silos have been built.
The plans aimed by the Head of the State on the development of national maritime commercial fleet includes the construction of railway ferryboats. Such type of maritime transportation of railway carriages without intermediate transhipment of cargo in the port is one of the most productive and its use allows saving time for loading and offloading operations significantly.
Advanced infrastructure of new International Seaport in Turkmenbashy is able to satisfy not only existing but also future demands on high quality service. Entry of full designed operation capacity of the port will lead to strategic changes in logistic chains of continental cargo transportation. Turkmen transhipment terminals will be important hubs while being the most optimal for shortest and most advantage routes.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov repeated that Turkmenistan is willing to be an active partner and participant of Europe – Caucasus – Asia Programme (TRACEKA) as the formation of the western transport corridor from Central Asia plays big role in the context of realization of the objectives of restoration of the Silk Road.
Our country actively supports the creation of international transport and transit Lazuli Route, which running across Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey would support the strengthening of productive cooperation in wide geo-econmic space including the regions of Central and South Asia, Caspian and Black Sea basins and Mediterranean.
International initiatives of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, which were proposed at the sessions of the United Nations General Assembly, summits of the heads of the states of the CIS, SCO and other high-level forums, are aimed at improvement and development of beneficial trade and economic relations. In particular, this is about the elaboration of the UN Special Programme on transport development stipulating the study of transit and transport capabilities between Caspian and Black Seas, Central Asia and Middle East.
Relative Resolutions related to transport adopted by full consensus of the UN General Assembly indicates the relevance of constructive proposals of Turkmen leader. It is remarkable that Turkmenistan was selected to the Bureau of the Inland Transport Committee of the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations (UNECE) in 2019 – 2020.
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