The first session of trilateral working group for development of cooperation and transport and communication between Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan was held with participation of high-rank officials of these countries in video conference format.
The establishment of the working group and beginning of negotiation process on development of transnational transport corridor became logical continuation of initiatives of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov proposed at the video conference session of the leaders of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan on July 2 this year. Back then, the Head of the State has made a proposal on establishment of Unified Logistic Centre, which would coordinate the activity of the corridor and cargo traffic.
Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan are located on the intersection of strategic roads of Eurasian continent. Territories of these countries have exits on the east to Southern Asia, Far East and Asian Pacific Region, to Black and Mediterranean Seas across Caspian Sea on the west, to Persian Gulf across Iran and further to the World Ocean and Middle East countries in the south, to Baltic Sea, Eastern and Western Europe across Russian Federation in the north.
Such beneficial geographic strategic location opens big advantages for establishment of stable transport routes in all directions, Turkmen leader notes. Despite current complicated situation in the world and objectives difficulties caused by the condition of the world economy and global coronavirus pandemic, works for increment of cargo traffic are carried out in the above-mentioned directions at present.
All conditions have been made for stable operation of such important transit and transport corridor, which provides protection of trade and economic relations, as Afghanistan – Turkmenistan – Azerbaijan from the first days of the spread of COVID-19.
It is necessary to mention that notwithstanding the restrictions introduced at the control points of the state border, Turkmenistan, based on the Agreement on Lapis Lazuli signed in Ashgabat on November 15, 2017 in transit and transport cooperation, has never stopped work of connection points of Ymamnazar – Akina, Serhetabat – Turgundy and Turkmenbashy International Seaport.
Opportunity of opening the structure coordinating logistic activity in Afghanistan – Turkmenistan – Azerbaijan trilateral format has been reviewed and its organizational and legal format has been discussed at the session of the working group.
The sides have also exchange the opinions on the issues of pricing policy for cargo transportation along this route, which has to be based on the intent to make optimum economic and financial terms equal for all partners in transport sphere.
It was proposed to establish a working group composed on responsible representatives of administrations of railway, motor, maritime and air transport of three countries for regular analysis of the market of international cargo transportation, competiveness of tariffs and fees.
The participants of video conference session have also reviewed possible mechanisms of provision of various benefits to each other like reduction of tariffs on transit, exemption from payment of certain services during storage of cargo.
Presence of high technological transport infrastructure has significant importance for enhancement of efficiency of cargo traffic. Realizing this fact, it is necessary to pay special attention to further development of dispatch and receiving facilities like seaports, railway stations and motor stations. Today, Turkmenistan has favourable conditions in this sphere.
Thus, our country is ready to review specific forms of partnership with Afghanistan and Azerbaijan for provision of tariff preferences in the form of discount on existing tariff rate in Turkmenbashy International Seaport for long-term storage in open and indoor warehouses, on loading and offloading operations with cargoes from the country members of Lapis Lazuli corridor.
New gasoline and diesel fuel storage facility has been built at Ymamnazar control checkpoint of Turkmen – Afghan border. It is another important link of the system of transport provision of our country in Afghanistan – Turkmenistan – Azerbaijan direction. Its terminals are able to store 44,000 tons of petroleum product. Throughput capacity of the complex is up to 540,000 tons of petroleum products per year.
Favourable conditions have also been made for provision of uninterrupted transportation of big volume of cargo at Serhetabat control checkpoint of the same part of the state border. At the same time, Turkmenistan is ready to take part in construction of dry cargo stations in Akina and Turgundy settlements.
In addition, the Head of the State pointed out the necessity of facilitation of customs operations by introduction of the Single Window Control system. It was noted that exchange of preliminary data in this sphere is very important in facilitation of customs operation and acceleration of delivery of goods and movement of transport across the border.
ASYCUDA World computerized customs data control system is successfully used in Turkmenistan. It is also used by the Customs department of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for exchange of information between relative services of two countries.
At present time, customs authorities of Turkmenistan and the Republic of Azerbaijan exchange the information these days, including the information on compatibility and technical conditions of informational systems.
The agenda of the meeting has also included the subject of development of electronic map of Afghanistan – Turkmenistan – Azerbaijan route. At present time, Türkmenawtoulaglary Agency works on digitization of motor vehicles by installation of GPS trackers on light and cargo vehicles for provision of information about their location, technical conditions and fuel consumption.
The Agency also works closely with International Road Transport Union (IRU) in the sphere of connection of GPS trackers to the unified system of GPS monitoring. According to Turkmen side the system of issue of electronic cards and centralized base, which would include all information about arriving and transit foreign transport, is under development these days.
The system will monitor Turkmen transport, which is engaged in international cargo traffic, which will give an opportunity to control movement of vehicles and to make electronic permit for crossing the border.
In addition, active work for improvement of railway carrier tracking system and digitization of other operation and services in the sphere of international cargo transportation is carried out.
In this aspect, the sides have discussed the establishment of GIS amp with geographic informational system unified for three countries. It will include gathering, storage, analysis and geographic visualization of dimensional and geographic date and information about necessary facilities including railroads and highways, stations, sea and dry ports, airports, cargo facilities, buildings and other infrastructural facilities.
The participants of the session of the working group have reviewed cooperation in telecommunication sphere. At present time, our country runs two important projects of construction of Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan fibre optic line and construction of Turkmenbashy – Siazan fibre optic cable line between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan across Caspian Sea bottom.
Video conference sessions with participation of technical groups of Turkmentelecom Communication Corporation and Azertelecom Ltd have been held for successful realization of the Memorandum of Understanding. It was decided to open cloud server for work and storage of information about joint project. Proposal for construction and connection of communication line between Turkmentelecom and Afghan Wireless Communication Company has been made.
Implementation of these projects will establish new telecommunication route between Asia and Europe. This subject has been reviewed separately at video conference session of the working group for joint construction, ownership and use of subsea fibre optic line across Caspian Sea between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.
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