Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan (PortSEurope) November 16, 2020 – Dagestan is considering a proposal to resume a ferry service between the Caspian Sea ports of Turkmenbashi and Makhachkala commercial sea port in Russia. Makhachkala port sees itself a key transit hub for cargo crossing the Caspian Sea, where shippers transport goods to all the sea’s leading ports in Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. The port has
a ferry railway berth, but the railway ferries belong Azerbaijan, which holds a monopoly in ferry traffic in the Caspian Sea and does not use the ferries. Turkmenistan has been driving the establishment and implementation of the Caspian Sea–Black Sea International Transport Corridor (ITC-CSBS) which links the ports of Turkmenbashi, Baku, Poti, Batumi and Constanta, as well as cooperation with all the stakeholders, including the European. 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. Also relevant is the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR), also known as the Middle Corridor, which 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.