Romania signs agreement for Middle Corridor development

CFR Marfa and KTZ Express

Romania’s state-owned rail freight operator CFR Marfa and KTZ Express signed a memorandum of cooperation to develop transport services on the Middle Corridor (Trans-Caspian International Transport Route – TMTM) which links Central Asia, Caspian Sea and Black Sea.

The agreement was signed during a meeting in Astana on 18-20 June attended by the representatives of public and private rail industry as well as Kazakh governmental representatives including the Minister of Transport of Kazakhstan, Maksat Kaliakparov.

According to CFR Marfa, the visit included several meetings with potential clients which are interested in the development of multimodal transport services on the Middle Corridor due to the intensification of trade between Europe and Asia, with the use of the solutions proposed by CFR Marfa.

The participants paid special attention to the utilisation of the transport corridor crossing Central Asian countries, Caspian Sea and Black Sea, with the opportunity of using the Port of Constanta as a node for the distribution of goods to European countries.

CFR Marfa has presented its plans to develop the freight traffic through Port of Constanta which can handle the goods coming from or destined for these regions using Romanian railway network and its important resources including the rolling stock, rail freight terminals as well as highly qualified human resources.

Under the agreement, CFR Marfa and KTZ Express will implement joint projects focusing on rail freight transport between Romania and Kazakhstan.

On June 12, 2024, the European Commission and Kazakhstan launched a coordination platform for the Trans-Caspian Transport Corridor during an event attended by representatives of Central Asian countries and other states along the corridor, as well as by international financial institutions and non-EU G7 countries. The platform will expand the corridor’s functionality to turn it into a multimodal and competitive route linking Europe and Asia in 15 days or less.

“The establishment of the coordination platform provides us with a unique opportunity to join forces, exchange experience and perspectives to reach common goals. I would like to note that our partners from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, as well as Turkey have been invited to join to this effort, which plays an important role in terms of achieving major and sustainable goals for the development of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route,” Marat Karabayev, Minister of Transport of Kazakhstan, said.

The platform will generally promote the corridor and coordinate efforts on the implementation of priority hard and soft infrastructure projects in Central Asia. It will also boost and coordinate investments in rail, road, and port infrastructure.

“The coordination platform created for the Trans-Caspian Transport Corridor marks a significant step forward in our cooperation to bring Central Asia and Europe closer together. Sustainable transport connections are crucial for consolidating the region’s economic growth and connectivity with Europe,” Henrik Hololei, Directorate-General for International Partnerships in the European Commission said.

The platform will help improve connections among Central Asian countries, bring sustainable economic benefits to the entire region, will foster and coordinate investments in rail, road and port infrastructure and will facilitate work on issues such as regulatory reforms and digitalisation.

The platform “will be instrumental in making the Trans-Caspian Transport Corridor a multimodal, modern, competitive, sustainable, predictable, smart and fast route linking Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The coordination efforts among the various stakeholders will drive forward deeper connections and contribute to sustainable economic development of the region,” Maja Bakran, Deputy Director General for Mobility and Transport, European Commission said.

As a reminder, in May 2024, the EBRD and USAID (United States Agency for International Development) signed a MoU to develop the Middle Corridor.

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