Supply chains over the past two years have proven to be essential for survival, success and growth of businesses, rather than simply an opportunity for them to cut costs. Today, the global supply chain is one of the most talked about topics in corporate world and politics. This is because the supply chain encompasses everything from raw materials to the packaging industry, from production to the transportation system and from the warehouse to the end consumer. The glitch in any of these stages affects final product price for consumers. And the most important part of this supply chain is transportation.
With the sudden increase in maritime freight transport prices, companies and governments sought alternative routes to bring prices to a reasonable level. Alternatively, the most suitable method for long distance transportation is undoubtedly rail transport.
Turkmenistan is at the intersection of global trade routes, east-west and south-north routes and is ideally located as a strategic gateway between Asia and Europe. Container transportation volumes doubled in 2021 on the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey-Europe route. A large part of these cargoes transit Turkmenistan. Other countries in the region have also increased their regional trade volumes to a great extent via Turkmenistan.
The increase in road and rail transport also affected the Caspian Sea transport. Additional transport capacity has been added to the Baku-Turkmenbashi route in the Caspian Sea. To date, 17,500 TEU containers have been transported in both directions along the route.
Last year, Turkmenistan reached an agreement with Russian company for the construction of two dry cargo ships. The ships will be built by the Southern Center of Shipbuilding and Ship Repair (SCSSR) JSC located in Russia’s Astrakhan oblast. Formerly, Turkmen ship order agreements from Astrakhan’s enterprises amounted to nearly $750 million.
The use of Turkmenistan's transport infrastructure to solve issues in the transport stage of the supply chain shows efficiency of the country's infrastructure investments. Due to its safety and low cost, the volume of transit freight through Turkmenistan increased 3.5 times in 2021.
PhD Candidate at Marmara University's Department of Political Science and International Relations in Istanbul, Turkey