2013 – Azerbaijan, Maritime, Improving existing trans-Caspian shipping links Baku Turkmenbashi

    2013 – Azerbaijan, Maritime, Improving existing trans-Caspian shipping links Baku Aktau

    2013 – Azerbaijan, Improving existing trans-Caspian shipping links Baku Turkmenbashi.png

    Maritime Project – The existing maritime link connects two important transport nodes on Caspian Sea ports of Baku and Turkmenbashi, but also serves as a segment for TRACECA corridor connecting Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia and CAREC 2b corridor providing the access for the landlocked Central Asian countries to Caspian Sea and Caucasians countries.

    Technical description

    The project is based on the existing rail-ferry services, which have been operated in the Caspian Sea for over 30 years. The existing transport link is essential for accessing the landlocked Central Asian countries by rail and providing them the access to Caspian Sea. Yet, however, the service:

    • suffers from irregular service schedule,
    • has a very limited dedicated capacity (or almost none) for handling container and Ro-Ro (TIR truck and trailers) transport,
    • is restricted due to the limited infrastructure and equipment available at Turkmenbashi (e.g., no dedicated Ro-Ro terminal, scarce port and handling equipment for 40` containers at marshalling yard, insufficient number of locomotives for handling the railferry traffic etc.).

    To tackle these problems the project should address the irregularity of shipping service and its limited capacity in handling Ro-Ro and container traffic. The project will: 

    • restore and establish the regularity of Baku-Turkmenbashi rail-ferry service based on fixed sailing schedule and corresponding fixed berthing windows which will enable to improve the frequency and increase the number of voyages;
    • simplify border-crossing procedures and implement the Free Practice procedure at both Baku and Turkmenbashi for cargo and vessels enabling to shorten the time needed for clearances and reduce berth occupancy;
    • improve coordination and advanced exchange of information between Customs and other border-crossing state agencies, ports, railways and shipping companies at national and bilateral levels in order to speed up port and vessel operations;
    • ensure the availability of sufficient suitable and dedicated Ro-Ro tonnage and its operation on a regular/fixed schedule between Baku and Turkmenbashi;
    • enlarge and modernize Turkmenbashi port according to development plans approved by the Government of Turkmenistan in 2011 (still valid); rehabilitate the 2nd rail-ferry ramp at Turkmenbashi port;
    • support maintenance of existing container handling equipment (supply / finance spare parts) at Baku sea port pending the transfer of its activities to Alyat.
    • assist the SSMRT and Caspian Shipping Company in implementing an efficient, coordinated and customer oriented operation of their existing / future fleet based on the experience and best practices existing in other countries and especially Turkey;
    • explore possibility of cooperation (such as J.V.) between Caspian Shipping Company, the SSMRT and Turkish enterprises for new Ro-Ro operation in the Caspian
    • based on the improvement of the rail-ferry operations and operation of new Ro-Ro and Ro-Pax service, foster the implementation of a liner container service deploying adequate specialized tonnage under a regular schedule between Baku and Turkmenbashi.
    Investment amount
    Most of the short-term steps contemplated in the project do not require any specific investment as, except for dredging of the access channel to the port and enlargement works and ramp rehabilitation at Turkmenbashi sea portas they are not related to infrastructure and/or equipment and consist in soft measures. Dredging and other civil engineering works are going on rapidly at Alyat, the location retained for the new port of Baku. Investment in ferry vessels is an on-going regular process with Caspian Shipping while Turkmenistan has officially declared its intention to acquire Ro-Pax tonnage.
    Implementation schedule

    In the short run (years 1 to 2)

    • restore and establish the regularity of Baku-Turkmenbashi rail-ferry service;
    • simplify border-crossing procedures and implement the Free Practice procedure at both Baku and Turkmenbashi;
    • improve coordination and advanced exchange of information between Customs and other border-crossing state agencies, ports, railways and shipping companies at national and bilateral levels in order to speed up port and vessel operations;
    • ensure the availability of sufficient suitable and dedicated Ro-Ro tonnage between Baku and Turkmenbashi;
    • enlarge and modernize Turkmenbashi port; rehabilitate the 2nd rail-ferry ramp at Turkmenbashi port;
    • support maintenance of existing container handling equipment at Baku sea port pending the transfer of its activities to Alyat.

    In the medium run (years 3 to 5)

    • assist the SSMRT and Caspian Shipping Company in implementing an efficient fleet operation;
    • explore possibility of cooperation (such as J.V.) between Caspian Shipping Company, the SSMRT and Turkish enterprises for new Ro-Ro operation in the Caspian
    • foster the implementation of a liner container service between Baku and Turkmenbashi.
    Status
    Under development
    Expected impacts on transport, environment, social, other
    The improved regularity, reliability of existing service; better coordination of transport operations between port, railways and trade facilitation authorities, will result in a better deployment of the existing and future rail-ferry fleet while the implementation of pure Ro-Ro and/or Ro-Pax services will immediately cause a diversion of existing large cargo-flows from other - purely road - corridors.
    Source of fundig
    IFIs, National funding
    References

     

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