The OPEC Fund for International Development has signed a $45 million loan agreement with Turkmenistan to support the construction of three sea vessels for transporting railway cars, passengers and dry cargo in the country.
Turkmenistan, under its Marine Merchant Fleet Project, which is also co-financed by the Islamic Development Bank, aims to expand its role in maritime transport in the Caspian Sea region by increasing vessel capacity and enhancing the efficiency of Turkmenbashi International Seaport, according to the OPEC Fund’s Tuesday press release.
The new ships will be constructed at the Balkan shipyard. Upon completion, the project is expected to raise annual freight transport capacity of the country by one million tons and increase passenger numbers by 20,000 per year, as well as reduce freight costs and cargo waiting time.
Training in shipbuilding and repair under the project will also provide technology-transfer and create additional job opportunities, particularly for young graduates.
OPEC Fund Director-General Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said, “This project is an important catalyst to boost Turkmenistan’s capacity as a seafaring nation in the Caspian Sea region and it will help unlock the significant potential in trade and economic activity. New, faster and better transport connections will support sustainable development and contribute to economic growth and resilience. The OPEC Fund is pleased to strengthen its relationship with Turkmenistan”.
The OPEC Fund is the intergovernmental development finance institution established in 1976 by the member states of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). It is the only development institution that provides financing from member countries to non-member countries exclusively.