On November 27, the World Bank issued a report entitled “Middle Trade and Transport Corridor – Policies and Investments to Triple Freight Volumes and Halve Travel Time by 2030”, which focuses on Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia and identifies priority measures that can transform the rail and maritime corridor into a vital and dependable trade route between China and the EU.
The report notes that with the right investments and policies, the Middle Corridor, which links Chinese and European markets via Central Asia and the Caucasus, could triple volumes while halving travel time by 2030.
“Out new data confirms that the Middle Corridor is not only viable but can become essential to the economies of countries along the route,” – said Antonella Bassani, the World Banks’s Deputy President for Europe and Central Asia. She added: “Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan, together with other countries, have made considerable progress in aligning their vision and moving this corridor forward. The World Bank is committed to supporting the Middle Corridor in partnership with the governments along the route and other multilateral organizations.”
The report develops the trade model that will increase trade from Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan by 37%, while trade between these three countries and the EU will increase by 28%.
The report identifies key policies and investments needed to respond to the demand for transport and to support economic development in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia, including:
- Providing corridor-length logistics solutions to ensure seamless operations along the corridor;
- Reforming and simplifying processes and procedures, particularly at border crossings, to smooth out exchanges of traffic, data, and characteristic of multimodal corridors.;
- Coordinating digitalization to increase tracking and reduce delays at borders and operational interfaces. A unified, interoperable framework can facilitate digital transformation of processes and activities in the corridor;
- Improving performance at the Caspian and Black Sea crossings, with a focus on removing bottlenecks to vessel availability and improving port productivity;
- Agreeing on a uniform investment prioritizing system. The report identifies a number of investment opportunities that should be further evaluated and prioritized.
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