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Kazakh Ships To Gain Faster Access To Russian Rivers For Shipment Of Goods From And To Azerbaijan, Iran And Turkmenistan

Kazakh ships to gain faster access to Russian rivers for shipment of goods from and to Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan

Aktau, Kazakhstan (PortSEurope) November 9, 2020 – Kazakhstani companies will gain faster and easier access to inland waterways (navigable rivers) in Russia and will be able to transport goods from Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan after the Kazakh Parliament approved an agreement on shipping in the countries of the Russia dominated Eurasian Union. The agreement has been reached between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) member states
to create a unified legal framework for shipping. “At the same time, after the signing of the agreement, Kazakh carriers will be able to carry out river transport not only within the Yertis basin, but also with access to the Ob River. The issue of modernization of two-way traffic between the ports of Atyrau, Astrakhan and Volgograd is also under consideration. By 2025, we plan to increase the volume of river transport to 3.8 million tonnes under the ‘Nurly Zhol’ program,” said Berik Kamaliyev, Kazakh Vice Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development. The agreement will increase the transit potential of Kazakhstan’s ports along the Trans-Caspian international transport route (TITR). It allows a transit passage approval by Russia within 10 days versus the current three to six months bureaucratic procedure. Of all the countries participating in the agreement, only Russia has inland waterways along which transit navigation of vessels is possible. Cargoes from ports on the Black Sea to Kazakhstani ports are delivered in transit through the Russia’s Volga-Don shipping channel. Since only Kazakh companies will have the opportunity to simplify the procedure for passing through the inland waterways of Russia, already now the Caspian countries (Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan), which are not members of the Eurasian Union, are showing interest in using Kazakh carriers to transport goods to and from ports in the Caspian Sea to ports on the Black Sea. The 101 km Volga–Don Canal canal together with the lower Volga and the lower Don, provides the most direct (over 800 km long) navigable connection between the Caspian Sea and the world’s oceans via the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. The Canal has a limited capacity and is unsuitable for larger ships (depth of only 3-3.5 metres, with further summer limitations. The Canal ends in the port of Astrakhan (Russia), which in the first half of 2020 processed 1.2 million tonnes (+14.0%) of cargo. The newly ratified agreement is expected to allow by 2025 an increase of the Kazakh transit traffic through Russia’s rivers to 250-300,000 tonnes of cargo per year. The agreement will also give access for Kazakh shippers to the Ob River. The agreement will allow Kazakhstan to play a bigger role in the container transportation market between Asia and Europe which is driven by China’s new Silk Road economic policy to increase exports of its goods to Europe, which in turn, has led countries along the trade routes to invest in transport corridor logistics. In recent years, railways are delivering more goods to Caspian Sea ports from China in the east and from Iran to the south to be transhipped to Europe. Kazakhstan’s Aktau and Kuryk seaports both seek roles in these transport corridors. The Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR), also known as the Middle Corridor, combines the countries participating in the new Silk Road project and important players of the region. Its members are leading maritime and transport companies from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, China and Turkey. The organisation aims to popularise the middle corridor, accelerate and simplify cargo transportation procedures between Asia and Europe, and make special preferential tariffs. Between East and West, in terms of cargo, the middle corridor helps to compete with the north-south routes. TITR allows European companies to bypass Russia, which until now sanctions the transit of certain types of goods through the country. A number of Russian entities are under sanctions from the international community following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014. The importance of this route was underlined with the inclusion of Georgia and Azerbaijan in the European Union (EU) TEN-T network. Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2020

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