Olya, Russia (PortSEurope) September 1, 2021 – PLC Caspiy has received from Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development resident status for the port-type special economic zone (SEZ) Lotus in Olya port which is located in the Limansky District of the Astrakhan Region on the bank of Bakhtemir River connecting Volga River with the Caspian Sea For the modernisation of existing and the construction of new berths
Caspiy will rely on help from strategic partner Martrade Holding, a privately-owned German integrated logistics service provider offering worldwide services and a corporate headquarters in Düsseldorf. The first stage of the project envisions installation of new equipment in the existing berths 8 and 9 of Olya port. Four new terminals with a total capacity of over 3 million tonnes are to be constructed by the end of 2023. The port’s annual throughput is forecast to be about 8 million tonnes by 2031. The ambitious second stage of the project is to create a new port some 7 km away from Olya Port, but there are no available details about these plans. The project in Olya is aimed at the development of container shipping on the International Transport Corridor North-South (INSTC) across the Astrakhan Region, linking Northern and Western Europe with India and Iran. The project will create an advanced infrastructure for handling of containerised cargo which is currently absent in the region. Russian and Caspian Sea potential After years of neglect, it seems that since last year Moscow is reconsidering the potential of its three Caspian Sea ports and the role they can play in the INSTC, a 7,200-km-long multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road route for moving cargo between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe. Russia wants a transport hub in the Caspian Sea to challenge developments in other littoral states as it seeks a share of the cargo transit business between Asia and Europe, which is manifested in various international transport corridors which form part of China’s new Silk Road. The Russian government is planning to develop the infrastructure of the country’s only all-year, ice-free port in the Caspian Sea – Makhachkala – and turn it into a transit hub. The target is to attract additional traffic in oil, grain and fish; to improve Dagestan’s crisis-hit economy and give a push to local socio-economic development. It is unclear why Moscow also wants to build a deep-sea port in Kaspiysk, which is only 18 km south of Makhachkala. There might be one more reason for the sudden “discovery” of Makhachkala’s potential. A group of Iranian companies, financed by China, wants to invest in the development of the small southern Russian port of Lagan, a few kilometres from the Caspian Sea, Batu Khasikov, governor of Russia’s Kalmykia Republic, said in March. Lagan is some 200 km north of Makhachkala. Russia has three ports on the Caspian Sea coast: Makhachkala (Mahachkala), Olya (Olia, where a new port is being developed, just 50 km to the north) and Astrakhan (Astrahan). Makhachkala, Olya and Lagan (if built) need significant investments in order to be turned into modern multimodal transport hubs. They lack developed railway and road connections, modern port-related infrastructure, such as airports and other transport systems. More information about Russia’s Caspian Sea ports can be read in the PortSEurope analysis Russia “discovers” its strategic Caspian Sea ports – August 13, 2020 Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2021.