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Kazakhstan to Use Digital Solutions to Boost Trans-Caspian Route Capacity

By Vusala Abbasova May 22, 2023

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Recognizing China's role as the primary shipper, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasized the need for intensified cooperation to ensure maximum and uninterrupted utilization of this route.

In an ambitious move to bolster the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR), Kazakhstan is set to increase its capacity by embracing cutting-edge digitalization strategies.

During the inaugural China-Central Asia Summit in Xi'an, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasized the significance of collaborative efforts in the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative.

He reaffirmed Kazakhstan's readiness to participate in the project's implementation, highlighting the TITR as a crucial component.

“One of the key sections of the China-Central Asia-Europe route is the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route,” Interfax quoted Tokayev as saying on Friday. “We intend to systematically increase its capacity through the introduction of digital solutions and infrastructure modernization.”

Recognizing China's role as the primary shipper, he emphasized the need for intensified cooperation to ensure maximum and uninterrupted utilization of this route. Furthermore, President Tokayev extended an invitation to Chinese partners for mutually beneficial collaboration in expanding the capabilities of Caspian Sea ports, digitizing their operations, and engaging in joint production of transport vessels.

In 2022, President Tokayev emphasized the need to fully leverage the potential of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR), also known as the Middle Corridor. This route spans from China to Europe, encompassing Central Asia and the South Caucasus.

The Trans-Caspian route matters to Kazakhstan's economic security and has grown more important, as exports through Russian territory are becoming increasingly difficult due to the fallout from Moscow's Ukraine war.

The Middle Corridor has emerged as a key trade route between Europe and Asia, offering greater economic benefits and faster transit times for the landlocked countries in the region. The Baku International Sea Trade Port in Azerbaijan, Aktau/Kuryk ports in Kazakhstan, and Turkmenbashi Port in Turkmenistan are the primary maritime points on this route, which promises significant gains for regional trade.

Compared to the Northern Corridor, the Middle Corridor provides a more cost-effective and faster trade route, cutting down the travel distance by 2,000 kilometers. Additionally, the Middle Corridor passes through more favorable climate conditions and reduces travel time by 15 days compared to sea routes.

The Middle Corridor also presents immense opportunities for cargo traffic in Asia, enabling goods to reach the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean region by integrating port connections in Türkiye.

The strategic location of the Middle Corridor is expected to create significant economic opportunities, enabling South Caucasian and Central Asian countries to benefit from the $600 billion China-Europe trade annually.

The establishment of logistics centers and free trade zones at the ports of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan will facilitate the development and deepening of Trans-Caspian cooperation, thereby boosting regional economies. By leveraging the benefits of the Middle Corridor effectively, the countries in the region can reap the rewards of increased trade and economic growth.