The Caspian Sea is located at the crossroads of continental routes. The coastal nations have direct access to South Asia and the Asia-Pacific Region in the east; to the Black and the Mediterranean Sea in the west; to the Middle East via Iran in the south; to the Baltic Sea via Russia in the north. The geographical position offers the advantage of creating routes in the cardinal directions, the Turkmen leader said, speaking at the international forum in Ashgabat.
As stressed, the coastal states have to establish an efficient transport system linking them all, building modern seaport infrastructure and ensuring adequate logistics support.
More active steps should be taken to work out action plans aimed to promote transport cooperation, with clearly defined objectives and realistic time frames, the head of state said with an emphasis on the idea of setting up the Caspian Sea Logistics Center that could coordinate joint efforts to build and make good use of new transport-transit corridors, linking Asia with Europe.
The Economic Strategy of Turkmenistan for the Caspian Sea is intended to implement large-scale and long-term projects in the fields of energy, industry, transport, and trade. Today, massive efforts are being made to develop onshore and offshore hydrocarbon reserves. Hydrocarbon processing plants and plants producing mineral fertilizers, polymers, liquefied gas and petrochemicals are well under construction on the Caspian coast (Turkmenistan) in close collaboration with foreign companies.
Along with that, Turkmenistan is building a contemporary and extensive transport-communications network. Thousands of kilometers of highways and railways have already been built in the country over the past years. The new International Turkmenbashi Seaport with annual freight tonnage of 25-27 million officially opened last year. The Turkmen Maritime Merchant Fleet was established in a relatively short period of time.
These examples aptly illustrate the littoral nations’ plans aimed at gaining access to the international markets and major transport corridors, and they have everything necessary for this, including competitive advantage, the President said.
In this context, efficient trade relations of the Caspian Region with the foreign markets assume special significance. The head of state necessitated encouraging closer cooperation with the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the World Trade Organization, and other specialized international agencies, and promoting a common vision and solidarity. It also makes sense to explore the positive work experience of a number of regional international organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
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