Bucharest, Romania (PortSEurope) March 6, 2019 – The foreign ministers of Romania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkmenistan have signed a declaration for the promotion of a multimodal corridor for the transport of goods between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea (Caspian Sea – Black Sea International Transport Corridor project – ITC-CSBS). The declaration provides that the ministries and national agencies of the four nations will set up
a working group of experts to identify and solve all technical issues of the project. The Black-Caspian Seas freight corridor project was launched by Romania and Turkmenistan to create an intermodal transport route for maritime, river, road and rail freight transport between central and northern Europe and the southern Caucasus and central Asia, with the prospect of connecting to the Asia-Pacific region. Both countries have modern multimodal ports which, by and large, stand idle. The corridor is based on the geographic contiguity between Romania, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan and the services offered by the ports of Constanţa (Romania), Poti (Georgia), Baku (Azerbaijan) and Turkmenbashi (Turkmenistan). The new transport route should being created on the basis of the Trans-Caspian (Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey) and Lazurite/Lapis Lazuli (Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan) corridors. For Romania, it is important to turn its Black Sea port of Constanta into one of the important links of the transport and transit corridor connecting the Caspian and Black Seas and an EU point of transshipment of goods transported from the Turkmen port of Turkmenbashi, as well as from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Turkmenistan has long been exploring the possibility of transporting goods, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Constanta. The supply route involves the use of special containers and runs through the Caspian Sea to Baku (Azerbaijan), then by rail to Batumi or Poti (Georgia) and from there by sea to Romania. But the transportation of LNG by ferry and rail, across the two seas, increases significantly its cost and the gas becomes very expensive for a European consumer. Uzbekistan has long been interested in the Caucasian transport corridor and is seeking access to the Black Sea ports and further through the port of Mersin (Turkey) to the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. Tajikistan has a similar interest. The Black Sea countries of Turkey, Bulgaria, and Ukraine could also participate in ITC-CSBS project along with Romania. Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2019.