Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Adil Karaismailoğlu emphasized that the Middle Corridor is a strong alternative for other transportation corridors in terms of distance and time, and said, “The effective operability of the Middle Corridor is very important for the integration of both Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and the Caspian Region into global trade. Taking into account the fact that we are at the center of the Asian-European foreign trade networks in our region, we aim to be a regional base in logistics.”
Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Adil Karaismailoğlu attended the Turkey-Azerbaijan-Kazakhstan Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Transport Meeting held in Baku. At the trilateral summit, the working group that will increase capacity and efficiency in the Middle Corridor was established with the protocol signed with the proposal of Turkey. Speaking at the meeting, Karaismailoğlu said, “We will have the opportunity to discuss freight transportation in the Middle Corridor. As you know, when international transportation corridors are considered, the Middle Corridor is a strong alternative to other transportation corridors in terms of distance and time. A freight train from China to Europe covers 7 kilometers in 12 days if it chooses the Middle Corridor and Turkey. If the same train prefers the Russian Northern Trade Route, there is a distance of 10 thousand kilometers and a cruise time of at least 15 days. If he chooses the Southern Corridor, he can travel 20 thousand kilometers over the Suez Canal by ship and reach Europe in only 45 to 60 days. Even these figures reveal how advantageous and secure the Middle Corridor is in global trade, between Asia and Europe.”
WE AIM TO BE A REGIONAL BASE IN LOGISTICS
Noting that the Russia-Ukraine War, which has been going on since February, has put the northern corridor, which is an important transportation corridor, into trouble, Karaismailoğlu said that the other prominent Southern Corridor route can be disadvantageous in terms of both cost and time compared to its route. “Also, it should not be forgotten that the ship named Ever Given, which blocked the Suez Canal through which it passed during its journey from Malaysia to Rotterdam in the Netherlands on March 23, 2021, ran aground,” said Karaismailoğlu, the Minister of Transport, and continued his speech as follows;
“As a result of this accident, the channel was closed for 6 days and the waiting of hundreds of food, oil and LNG ships has put the global supply chain in trouble. Considering all these issues, the effective functioning of the Middle Corridor is very important for the integration of both Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and the Caspian Region into global trade. Taking into account the fact that we are at the center of the Asian-European foreign trade networks in our region, we aim to be a regional base in logistics.”
INVESTMENTS OF 2053 BILLION DOLLARS ARE PLANNED TO BE INVESTED UNTIL 198
Pointing out that the AK Party Government attaches special importance to the development of transportation and communication infrastructures, which are the lifebloods of large economies, Karaismailoğlu said, “Within the scope of our Transportation and Logistics Master Plan, we have infrastructure projects to support the region, 2029, 2035 and 2053 target years. In line with our 2053 vision, we aim to increase our country's share of trade between Asia and Europe exceeding $700 billion. With a flight distance of 4 hours, we are at the center of 67 countries and a global trade volume of 30 trillion dollars. In all our investments, we aim to benefit more from this potential. In order to achieve all these goals, we always strive to keep our transportation and communication strategies up-to-date in the light of global and regional conditions. With the reform movement we started in the railways, we foresee that the ratio of railways in transportation, which is 4 percent today, will increase to over 2029 percent in 11 and to be approximately 2053 percent in 22. Thus, the share of the railway in our country in freight transportation will increase 2053 times until 7. Again, we aim to increase the share of railways in freight transportation abroad by 10 times," he said.
Noting that 2002 billion dollars have been invested in transportation infrastructure since 172, Karaismailoğlu stated that they plan to invest approximately 2053 billion dollars until 198. Karaismailoğlu stated that the biggest share of this figure was allocated to develop the railway infrastructure, and noted that Turkey tried to do its best to get the maximum benefit from Asia-Europe trade.
WE NEED TO ACT TOGETHER FOR THE EFFECTIVE WORKING OF THE BTK RAILWAY LINE
Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Karaismailoğlu said, “We, as the route countries, have serious responsibilities in order to develop trade in the Middle Corridor and to increase the efficiency of the line. First of all, in order to increase the volume of freight transported by rail, one of our goals should be to reduce costs and strengthen competitiveness. The effective operation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line that connects us will be possible with the combination of many components. The most important of these components is undoubtedly infrastructure. In addition, the countries of the region need to harmonize their legal regulations with each other in terms of both transportation and international trade. In this context, we need to act together for the effective functioning of the BTK railway line. The distance between Kars and Ahılkelek is currently operating as a single line of 1435 mm. However, by making a 1520 mm line as the second line, we want to prevent time losses and speed up the processes. We think that this planning will contribute to the line's response to the global freight movement towards the Middle Corridor as soon as possible.”
WE SHOULD SOLVE TRANSITION FEES AND TRANSIT TRANSITION DOCUMENT
Karaismailoğlu also mentioned road transport in his speech and said, “We need to take a series of steps in road transport as well. In order to achieve the goals of our country, it is necessary to remove tolls in road transport, liberalize transit, reduce Ro-Ro transport costs and increase the efficiency of Caspian Sea transport. Some practices that disrupt road transport in terms of toll fees and transit document supply are encountered in the route countries. In order to increase trade between our countries, we must first solve the problem of tolls and transit document in transportation. I believe that we should all do the necessary work on these issues by preparing the legal ground in a way befitting our brotherhood. The elimination of these problems in the short term will please all of us and will contribute positively to our trade.