ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ROADMAP
The two-day conference “International transport and transit corridors: interconnection and development” in Ashgabat was an important prologue to the main political event of the Turkmen summer. The forum discussed issues relating to the diversification of transport and transit cooperation in the Eurasian space. It was organized by the Transport and Communications Agency under the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan and attended by representatives of ministries and industry departments, experts, investors, as well as Turkmen and foreign mass media.
The delegates represented the international transport and forwarding companies including Vitol, Meno Logistics, Boeing, Dragon Oil, Fly Dubai, Airbus, Cargo Lux, as well logistics organizations such as International Air Transport Association (IATA), International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), International Road Transport Union (IRU), USAID Central Asia Program and many others. The meetings and panel discussions of the conference were also attended by representatives of international organizations and financial institutions, including the UN, the OSCE, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and diplomatic missions accredited in Turkmenistan.
In his welcoming message to the participants of the international conference, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov emphasized that creation of favorable conditions for establishment of reliable international transport corridors turns Turkmenistan into an important hub of transnational routes along the continental directions. Having prioritized the expansion of mutually beneficial international cooperation in transport and transit corridors, the country puts forward relevant proposals of global significance.
The conference combined both the traditional and online formats. The program consisted of the plenary session titled “Post-pandemic recovery of the transport and logistics sector: new challenges and opportunities” and three working sessions on the topics of “Digitalization of the transport and communications complex. A look into the future”, “Environmental aspects of sustainable transport. The role of public-private partnership in development of green infrastructure” and “The role of science and education in development of the transport and communication complex”.
During the plenary session, Executive Secretary of the International Center for Transport Diplomacy (ICTD) Igor Runov, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Dmitry Maryasin, ESCAP Economic Specialist Fyodor Kormilitsyn, and Chairman of the Executive Committee of UND Turkey Alper Ozel delivered welcoming speeches online.
As part of the dialogue, the forum participants discussed issues relating to the state of the world market of transport services, the geography and dynamics of cargo flows, opportunities to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of all modes of transport, the role of road and air transport in improving the efficiency of the transport and transit potential of Turkmenistan in the context of Eurasian integration and trends towards diversification of the geography of international transportation, risk control and accounting for logistics costs.
Opportunities to intensify traditional cooperation were discussed, taking into account the large-scale national programs implemented by Turkmenistan in the transport and communications sector to strengthen the material and technical base of railway, road, maritime transport, aviation, as well as long-term plans to expand existing and create new transport corridors that are expected to give a powerful impetus to deepening regional and world trade and economic ties.
Turkmenistan enjoys a strategic location for development of its own transport communications and increasing cargo flows along the Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA) corridor. And Turkmenistan’s participation in TRACECA projects will provide an opportunity to consistently and actively take additional practical steps to strengthen its status as the most important transport hub of the region and introduce the latest technologies in this area.
According to representatives of the international expert community, the desire of foreign partners to increase cooperation in this area is explained primarily by the scale of transformations in the transport and transit system, as well as the high level of interaction with the leading business circles. At the same time, it was noted that favorable legal, financial and economic conditions are being created for the fruitful work of all interested parties in the promising Turkmen market.
Regarding the topic of international cooperation, it was noted that Turkmenistan puts forward constructive initiatives aimed at developing a broad international partnership that meet the fundamental interests of countries and peoples and takes steps for their practical implementation. Forming their approaches to this topic, the forum participants were guided predominantly by their vision of Central Asia as an integral and important part of modern global development processes.
Speaking of the importance of transport and transit corridors that present a complex system combining the transport networks of different countries, the experts noted their role in regional and international integration, strengthening stability and mutually beneficial cooperation. In this regard, they emphasized the importance of consolidating efforts in the context of building up constructive interaction in this sector as one of the important conditions for economic progress and sustainable development. The reports by the forum participants were accompanied by visual presentations that provided more detail for their proposals on diversification of partnerships in the transport sector.
The forum also was the venue of the third meeting of the working committee of the Agreement on the establishment of an international transport and transit corridor between the Governments of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the State of Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan (Ashgabat Agreement) and the first working meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) on transport corridors Kyrgyzstan – Uzbekistan – Turkmenistan – Iran and Tajikistan – Uzbekistan – Turkmenistan – Iran – Turkey.
The agenda of the thematic session of the conference included issues relating to such important areas as the role of science and education in development of the transport and communication complex, building up international cooperation in these areas. On the sidelines of the forum, a ceremony was held to sign documents designed to promote strengthening of productive cooperation, development of its effective forms, activation of positive regional and global processes for the common well-being and progressive development.
In conclusion, the forum participants were taken on sightseeing tours along the Ashgabat – Tejen section of the Ashgabat – Turkmenabat high-speed highway and the International Airport of the capital city. The foreign guests also visited the city of Turkmenbashi, during which they were able to view the International Seaport and get acquainted with the transport and transit potential of this modern logistics facility.