Turkmenistan believes that the trade, economic and investment cooperation of the Central Asian countries has to acquire today a strategic focus. To put it more precisely, it is necessary to turn into one of the foundations for shaping a new geo-economic landscape in Eurasia, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov said in his speech at the Fourth Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia, held in the Republic of Kyrgyzstan on July 21.
The cornerstone of this strategy is transport and logistics. As the President of Turkmenistan underscores, the efforts of our countries can and must be aimed at achieving an important goal to create a high capacity and modern infrastructure that would ensure the interconnection of the transport systems of Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. At the same time, the readiness of our country for joint work on the development of the transport route Central Asia-Caspian Sea-Black Sea and Central Asia-Persian Gulf was confirmed.
Reminding that the International Conference of Ministers of Developing Landlocked Countries is to be held in Turkmenistan in August, the head of state expressed hope for the active participation of the Central Asian countries in this forum, aimed at developing coordinated approaches to the formation of international transport and logistics corridors, their configuration and operating principles. In this regard, a proposal was made to hold, as part of the conference, a separate meeting of the heads of transport departments of the Central Asian countries, the main topic of which will be the possibility of increasing freight flows both inside the region and beyond, from Central Asia to China and Europe.
“In general, speaking about the transport significance of the region, we can rightfully set an ambitious but realistic goal of turning it into an integral part of activity to restore the Great Silk Road”, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov said.
During an enlarged meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on the performance in the first half of the year, held on July 8, the head of state outlined among the priority objectives, including the ensuring of the uninterrupted operation of the transport and communications complex through a systematic analysis of the financial and economic state, and production and economic activities of specialized enterprises, as well as strict control over the implementation of measures to develop the digital economy in Turkmenistan.
Over the past six months of the current year, the plan was fulfilled 112.7 percent in this complex in the field of cargo transportation by road, rail, air, sea and river transport, and 110.6 percent in terms of cargo turnover.
The President of the country specified the promotion of domestic products to world markets, the expansion of trade and economic relations with foreign partners as the most important factor in the economic growth. This largely depends on the degree of integration of Turkmenistan into the global and regional transport and communications systems, which are the material base and a mechanism for the exchange of commodities between states.
At present, the railway sector of our state has experienced its rebirth as new enterprises have been established, modern technological lines have been introduced, operating divisions, which capacities have enhanced many times, have been equipped to comply with the state-of-the-art technology, and a large batch of wagons and diesel locomotives have been purchased. They will serve the rapidly developing national economy for many years to come.
The potential of our Homeland in the logistics of transit flows is especially impressive in view to the location in it of the main section of the transnational steel highway Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran, the North-South transport corridor. At the above-mentioned enlarged meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on the performance over six months the head of state stressed that maximum efforts must be made to increase the export of goods through this railway to the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia.
Turkmenistan continues to actively develop its transport sector in order to connect the national system to the international network in the southern and eastern directions, which will allow our state access to such developed economic centers as China, India, Pakistan and other countries of the Asia-Pacific region.
This also applies to development of the road infrastructure, where large-scale projects are carried out to build new and renovate operating highways. As part of the complex steps being taken on the instructions of Head of State Serdar Berdimuhamedov, a complete replacement of engineering and communications networks, the introduction of modern traffic safety systems, the installation of electronic information boards, LED monitors, etc. are planned. All this makes it possible to optimize traffic flows and increase the throughput of the road network with allowance for the growing number of vehicles.
During the Cabinet meeting on the performance over the first half of the year, a report was delivered that covered the construction progress of passenger bus stations and auto-training grounds with electronic equipment ongoing in the velayat centers. In this regard, the President of Turkmenistan stressed the need to consistently increase the motor cargo transportation, strengthen international cooperation in the development of the country’s transport corridors.
The successful implementation of the country’s road construction program, and enhancing the role of Turkmenistan as a key transport and transit hub of the region will open up great opportunities for development of public-private partnerships, introduction of the efficient economic management methods, and rational use of enormous natural resources.
Thus, the construction of the Ashgabat-Turkmenabat high-speed autobahn is currently underway. The autobahn is one of the largest transport projects in Turkmenistan, the implementation of which will ensure the integration of transit and transport links into an extensive network of roads stretching to the Asia-Pacific region. Due to this, a new highway will be put into operation in our country, which will make it possible to quickly and inexpensively perform cargo transportation over long distances, and stimulating rapid development of the regional economy.
Major projects are carried out jointly with foreign partners to create a combined regional and interregional logistics system, form interstate transit corridors connecting Central Asia to Europe, the Caspian, Black Sea and Baltic regions, the Middle and Near East, South and Southeast Asia.
In accordance with the Decree of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, work will soon begin on the construction of a two-way and two-lane road bridge across the Garabogazgol Bay along the Turkmenbashy-Garabogaz-Kazakhstan’s border highway and approach roads.
Turkmenistan also considers development of maritime passenger and cargo transportation as an important condition for the full-scale integration of the states of Central Asia and the Caspian basin into the world economic system. The international seaport of Turkmenbashy operates as the largest transit hub in the region.
During the aforementioned Cabinet meeting the head of state specified that the Turkmenbashy International Seaport has all the conditions for shipbuilding, and therefore it is necessary to organize this work on a phased basis, emphasizing the importance of training highly qualified specialized personnel and improving staffing in this area.
The advanced infrastructure of the port is capable of meeting not only the current, but also future demand due to a quality offer and high-class service. Its operation at full capacity will lead to fundamental changes in the logistics chains of continental freight traffic, an important hub of which will be the Turkmen transshipment terminals as the most optimal for choosing the shortest and most profitable routes.
The maximum use of the capabilities of the Turkmenbashy Seaport, the specifics of the delivery of large-size and heavy-weight cargo to the Caspian region by various modes of transport, their transit to other states of Central Asia through our country will bring cooperation to a new stage, facilitating the integration of Turkmenistan into the system of world economic relations.
An integral part of the large-scale reforms being carried out in the transport sector in a phased manner is the upgrade and technical re-equipment of domestic civil aviation, which has an important role to play in passenger and cargo transportation both on domestic and international routes.
Among the urgent objectives set by the head of state for the aviation sector is the creation of modern transport corridors by the “Türkmenhowaýollary” Agency and the efficient operation of airports.
At present, relevant work is under way to establish air traffic services between different countries, which will contribute to strengthening economic ties. The vast majority of passengers using services of international airlines travel as tourists, for business or as part of cultural exchanges. Therefore, national aviation has a key role to play in this area, providing a significant multiplier effect on the country’s economy.
One of the priority areas is the formation of an advanced transport and communications infrastructure of airports. Thus, work is currently underway on the construction of a hangar complex at the International Airport of the capital.
Based on objective realities, our country at the present stage has shaped its own concept of developing cooperation with the international community in the field of transport. Its main goal is to promote science-based and practically effective models of multilateral partnership in this area in the world arena, create a range of appropriate conditions necessary for stepping up and improving the efficiency of international transport and transit services.
The transport system, which is one of the basic sectors of the global economy, has a direct effect on development and balance of world economic relations. Its sustainable and well-coordinated operation is of great importance in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations.
Thus, the large-scale objectives set by President Serdar Berdimuhamedov in the field of transport are aimed at turning our country into a major international transport and transit center both of regional and global significance.