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ITE Transport and Logistics

Transport & logistics in the Caspian Sea

As the world’s largest inland sea, the Caspian Sea is a major geographic and political feature. Eight sovereign nations, including Russia and Iran, have access to the Sea and it is rich in oil and natural gas resources. As such, it is a vital transport & logistics hub, linking Central Asia with the Far East and Eurasia proper.

The Caspian region is a bustling hotbed of transport and logistics activity. Being a massive body of water, much of the transport activity comes from the maritime sector. Many of its coastal nations are beefing up their infrastructure and transport links with the goal of boosting trade cooperation and freight volumes throughout the region.

In this article, we take a look at three nation’s Caspian transport and logistics operations to give you a clear idea of the activity underway in developing solid transport links throughout the region.

Caspian Sea transport & logistics sector 01: Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan’s only port open to international trade, Aktau, is located on the Caspian Sea. It is an important terminal for consumer goods, as well as petroleum products, meaning it is well served with appropriate storage infrastructure. Aktau Port holds 4 oil loading terminals, with a storage capacity of 12 million tons annually, alongside 3 dry-cargo terminals. The dry-cargo sites have a freight storage capacity of 2 million tons.

A series of upgrades are planned at the port, in order to boost cargo traffic volumes by the decade’s end. Several new berths, grain silos and dry terminals are being constructed there. It is hoped these additions will bump up freight capacity to 18 million tons each year.

Aktau has been selected for inclusion in China’s trans-Asia “One Belt, One Road” project. Plans are afoot for a Kazakhstani-Chinese collaboration towards building a $2.7 billion rail line linking the Port to Khorgos on the Chinese border. Stretching over 2,000 kilometres, the new rail route could see an additional 500,000 TEUs pass through Aktau each year – making the port an even more important destination on international trade corridors.

Caspian Sea transport & logistics sector 02: Azerbaijan

Baku, the ancient capital of Azerbaijan, is located on the Caspian Sea. Much like Aktau is a critical facility for Kazakhstan, the Port of Baku is Azerbaijan’s chief international port. In fact, it is the biggest seaport in the Caspian region.

The port itself, in a running trend around the region, is focussed mainly on mineral exports and is a major oil terminal. Overall, the Port of Baku has the potential to handle up to 18 million tons of cargo per year, with actual annual capacity coming in at around 9 million tons.

Baku is also a terminal on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (B TK) rail route, which passes through the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and Kars in northern Turkey. Construction is still underway, although Baku and Tbilisi are linked by an existing line. However, once completed, the 826 km route will connect China to Turkey, further reinforcing the Caspian Region’s importance in linking East and West. Initially, the BTK is expected to carry 6 million tons of cargo, expanding to a peak capacity of 17 million tons by 2034.

Caspian Sea transport & logistics sector 03: Turkmenistan

Flush with cash from its significant energy industry, Turkmenistan is ready to cast enter the Caspian maritime trade with relish. Since 2013, the nation has been constructing a $2 billion port in Turkembashi on the Caspian Coast. 

This new port has been mooted for some time, and construction is expected to close in the coming years. Once fully operational, Turkembashi seaport will be have an estimated capacity of 15 million tons of cargo per year. It will also form the crux of a multimodal hub, with road and rail routes planned to connect the port to mainland Turkmenistan and beyond.
Turkmenistan’s government instigated a nationwide road upgrade programme in 2010. Under the auspices of this initiative, improvements to the Turkembashi-Ashgabat-Mary-Turkembat highway were made, including paved roads. This road connects Turkmenistan’s Caspian regions with Uzbekistan and is somewhat of a lifeline for trucking and road transport in the region.

Learn more at TransCaspian 2017

If you want to uncover the potential of the Caspian Sea for transport and logistics, and get to grips with the operations of major regional operators, head to TransCaspian 2017.
Located at the Baku Expo Centre, Azerbaijan, between 26-28 April, TransCaspian brings together transport and logistics companies, sea and river port authorities, intra-logistics equipment producers and many more major industrial figures, with international operators. It is the ideal platform to expand into the Caspian region and beyond.

It is not too late to register your interest in attending this major transport and logistics exhibition. Simply get in touch to learn more or to let us know you are interested in visiting TransCaspian 2017.


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