A study tour to Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia aiming at finding opportunities to increase trade along the Trans-Caspian route is being held on May 16-24, 2022 by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
The great potential of this international transport corridor for trade and business development as an alternative means for transporting goods from Central Asia to Europe is obvious. According to the official website of the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Kazakhstan, a great focus has been placed by Central Asian governments on increasing the transport of cargo via the Caspian Sea, as traders have growing difficulties in moving their goods through the current transit routes.
USAID’s Trade Central Asia activity is implementing this study tour in collaboration with the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA) and KazLogistics, the Union of Transport workers of Kazakhstan.
According to Robert Parker, USAID/Central Asia’s Regional Trade Officer, Trans-Caspian Corridor route can play an important role as a means to trade goods from Central Asia with Caucasus and European countries. The cooperation of these countries and decisions that will lead to an increase of regional trade and investments are welcome.
The Caspian Sea ports at Alyat and Kuryk, and the Batumi Port on the Black Sea are being visited by a delegation of over 40 customs representatives and staff of transport policy government agencies of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as by members of the Central Asia Transport and Logistics Partnership. Each port’s pricing policy is being studied, processes utilized are being reviewed, and digitization initiatives are being studied. It helps to develop recommendations for further simplifying procedures.
Representatives of national associations of road carriers, logistics companies and freight forwarders, seaports and shipping companies from Azerbaijan, Georgia and Central Asian nations, directly involved in international road transport will also join the tour. The organizers invited participants from Bulgaria and Turkey to familiarize them with the possibility of facilitating international road transport through their domestic territories.
At the same time, the shipping of pre-selected cargo along the proposed alternative route, from Central Asia through the port of Kuryk in Kazakhstan via Azerbaijan, Georgia to Turkey has been piloted by USAID, to identify the specific issues carriers may face when transiting these ports.
Improvement of region-wide trade connectivity and harmonization, economic growth’s acceleration and economic opportunity’s increase in Central Asia, through harmonizing customs and border procedures, increasing public-private dialogue on cross-border trade and investment, improving cross-border firm-to-firm connectivity, and addressing gender relevant trade issues is the goal of USAID’s Trade Central Asia activity.