Ports and railway authorities talking about reducing fares on Middle Corridor

2024/06/01 at 10:56 AM

Rail carriers and port operators being active on the Trans-Caspian Middle Corridor are talking about introducing 50 per cent reductions in freight prices and transhipment fees for container shipments between China and Europe. The fee reductions are intended to increase the competitiveness of intermodal transport on this route bypassing Russia.

Source: Port Aktau

Railway companies from Turkey, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are talking about introducing promotional freight rates on the Trans-Caspian Corridor. Representatives of the Kazakh port of Aktau on the Caspian Sea announced that it is possible to introduce 50 per cent reductions in container transhipment fees, provided that the same price discounts are introduced by the Port of Baku in Azerbaijan and railway carriers operating on the Middle Corridor.

Discussions on this issue are ongoing between the railway authorities of five countries located along the corridor. Currently, container transport from China to Europe via the route across the Caspian Sea is not very popular, even though after the Russian invasion of Ukraine started in 2022, there was a visible increase in the interest of European logistics operators in intermodal transport on this route. The main obstacles to the development of intermodal services on the Middle Corridor are long travel time and high costs resulting from the need to reload containers several times: on the China-Kazakh border and in ports on the Caspian and Black Seas.

“Fares on the Middle Corridor are currently not very competitive compared to northern and southern routes. Nevertheless, compared to other routes, the agreed discount will make rail freight transport more competitive,” Ilhom Mahkamov, Minister of Transport of Uzbekistan, told the Azerbaijan-based Trend News Agency.

Infrastructure expansion

In addition to lowering transport prices, countries along the Middle Corridor are also working to improve its capacity and shorten travel time by modernising terminals and railway lines. Due to the ongoing modernisation of the quay in the Port of Kuryk and the construction of a container terminal in Aktau, the container transhipment capacity will increase threefold and will amount to 200,000 TEU in 2028. In addition to supporting container transport between China and Europe, Central Asian countries are also developing connections that will increase the possibilities of transporting goods between them and other regions of the world. The development of infrastructure on the Middle Corridor is crucial for the economic development of those former USSR landlocked countries.

The importance of the Middle Corridor for the development of economic cooperation between the Central Asia region and Europe will be the topic of a debate to take place on 12 June as a part of the INTERMODAL IN POLAND 2024 Congress. Representatives of companies and public institutions from Europe, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan will participate in this discussion. More information about the Congress can be found at: https://intermodalinpoland.eu/

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