The objectives of TRACECA Programme are mainly consisting of the necessary levers for developing the corridor as alternative to the northern Transsiberian route, connecting TRACECA to TEN-T networks and supporting the economic independence of CIS countries and of the countries members of the Base Agreement on International Transport for the Development of Europe-Caucasus-Asia Corridor.
At the end of November 2011, Bucharest hosted the ninth reunion of the Intergovernmental Commission of Europe-Caucasus-Asia Transport Corridor, which also marked the shift of TRACECA’s annual presidency to the Romanian Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure. The representatives of TRACECA Corridor member states, present at the reunion in Bucharest, talked about some of the most important railway transport projects included in their national strategies.
For Armenia, the TRACECA Corridor is important for its potential connection to the European network. An important project is the North-South Corridor, linking Armenia to Iran, as foreign investors have expressed a high interest in this project.
The national railway transport operator is interested in building a 40 km railway with works due to begin in 2012. Moreover, another railway will be built connecting Yerevan to the airport.
The representative of Azerbaijan, Akif Mustafaev, has underlined the importance of ensuring EU financing for the development of TRACECA. At the same time, Mustafaev has talked about Azerbaijan’s plan of purchasing wagons, locomotives, of improving the railway network for which USD 2.5 Billion are necessary, 40% from the World Bank and 60% from the state budget.
Georgia’s representative has stressed the importance of political reforms so that the transport sector will become the driving force in the country’s economic development.
Iran’s delegate, Shahriar Afandizadeh, has talked about the plans of his country to build railway connections with Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. An agreement for building a new railway line, measuring 900 km and linking Turkey to the Persian Gulf, via Iran, is also in force. The connection with Afghanistan includes the construction of a 140-km long railway line, the first 106-km long segment of which is Iranian. Construction works will be initiated starting with 2012.
The delegate of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Azat Bekturov, has talked about the plans of the Kazakh Government for transport development until 2015. Funds of USD 19 Billions are allocated to the rehabilitation of infrastructure and infrastructure works. The country plans the construction of 1,500 km of new rail lines. “We plan to finalize the new railway aimed at increasing the transit volume to China, reducing the distance between the two countries by 500 km. We are hoping to also complete the line to Turkmenistan, which means reducing the current transport distance by 600 km. By 2020, Kazakhstan plans to build another 1,200 km of railways and electrify over 1,000 km of railway lines”, said Bekturov. Moreover, the extension of Aktau Port will permit a 30% increase in the vo-lumes of carried freight.
Kyrgyzstan has announced the elaboration of a railway rehabilitation strategy by 2014, while Tajikistan plans to develop the TRACECA Corridor by 2014 and create a new logistics centre.
Uzbekistan is also paying special attention to transport corridors, TRACECA becoming one of the country’s economic development programmes. In 2010-2011, the country reconstructed the railway Samarkand – Tashkent and is currently rebuilding the railway Samarkand – Bukhara. In August 2011, the authorities put in service a 75-km long (Hairatan – Mazar-e-Sharif) built by Uzbek Railways in Afghanistan.