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    • Virtual Meetings on the Study Project for Commercialization of Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran Railway Corridor
      Virtual Meetings on the Study Project for Commercialization of Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran Railway Corridor
      A New railway corridor along Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Islamic Republic of Iran (KTI) has been constructed and was put in operation at the end of 2014. To commercialize the railway transport operations along the KTI corridor, a study project was initiated with the cooperation of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), UNESCAP and Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) to identify the main physical and non-physical barriers, to examine the current status of freight flows and feasibility of further enhancement and come up with a common management mechanism for the Corridor (CMM).

      The main features of KTI identified in the course of the study:
      • KTI corridor is a rail bypass of Caspian Sea with few border crossings and a new alternative for Central Asian region which helps avoiding use of expensive feeder sea lines;
      • Connectivity with logistics / economic centers in KTI countries, Russian Federation, China and other neighboring countries and Iranian ports at ECO ports in the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea;
      • Modern rail infrastructure, generally in very good condition, sufficient and adequate infrastructure capacity, sufficient locomotives/wagons;
      • Potential for consolidation of cargoes and reconfiguring of trains at intersection nodes along KTI connected corridors to be further explored;
      • The traffic along the KTI corridor has increased gradually from around 0.53 mln. tons in 2015 to 1.44 mln. tons in 2018 an average growth of 28 percent per year;
      • Freight traffic along the corridor was observed as imbalanced with 77 percent traffic flowing in North- South direction;
      • Currently the corridor is used to transport mainly bulk cargo which is more sensitive to transport costs than time;
      • Groups of commodities transported in North-South direction are grains, agricultural products, chemicals and for South-North direction are minerals and oil products, foodstuff, construction materials;
      After completion of the Studies Virtual Meetings on the Study Project of Commercialization of Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran (KTI) were held on 19 May, 10 June and 16 June 2020, respectively with the participation of the railway authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan. Representatives of UNESCAP and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), as well as officials of the ECO Secretariat were participating in all 3 meetings.

      The aim of the online meetings was to assess the initial outcomes of the studies on physical, non-physical barriers and freight flows along the KTI railway corridor and to get views/comments of the KTI en-route countries, as well as proposals/options for a corridor management mechanism.

      During the virtual meetings the representatives of the KTI railway en-route Member States appreciated the quality of the studies and the proposal of the Corridor Management Mechanism done by the ESCAP consultancy team and expressed their best wishes for the KTI corridor and its commercially sustainable operationalization.

      All KTI en-route countries agreed to work together in coordinated way with each other for operationalization of the corridor and fully supported the draft CMM and are ready to consider signing MoU to set up institutional mechanism for KTI corridor.

      Further the meetings agreed that the KTI en-route Member States will provide their proposals/comments/views on the draft CMM in written to the ECO Secretariat within the stipulated time for its final decision.

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