Tag Archives: logistics

Port of Baku to build fertiliser terminal

JUNE 9 2021 (The Bulletin) — Baku Port said that it had started construction work on a fertiliser terminal. The plan is to have the terminal up and running by the end of 2022 to ship fertilisers from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan across the Caspian Sea, the South Caucasus and the Black Sea to Europe. 

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— This story was published in issue 48 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 16 2021

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China to build Belt and Road terminal in Kyrgyzstan

BISHKEK/JUNE 7 2021 (The Bulletin) — China signed a deal to finance the development of a $100m industrial sector in Kyrgyzstan a few days after Pres. Xi Jinping telephoned Kazakh Pres. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to talk up the prospect of deeper relations.

The industrial sector deal highlights China’s status as Kyrgyzstan’s biggest financial backer and cements the importance of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for Central Asia.

According to press reports, “investors” from China will pay $20m initially to develop the Silk Way Industrial Park with subsequent payments pushing up total investment to $100m.

The 70 hectare site on the border with Kazakhstan, 30km from Manas International Airport, is considered by China to be a key part of its BRI project to boost East-West trade. The BRI hinges on building infrastructure across the region which has allowed China to increase its influence. In May, China said that it would boost aid to Kyrgyzstan and this week media reported that, in a phone call, Chinese Pres. Xi told Kazakh Pres. Tokayev that relations needed to “advance in the right direction”.

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— This story was published in issue 487 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 9 2021

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Pakistan offers Uzbekistan access to its ports

MARCH 11 (The Bulletin) — On a two day visit to Pakistan, Uzbek foreign minister Abdulaziz Kamilov talked up the potential of Pakistan’s ports at Karachi and Gwadar as “gateways to Central Asia”. The landlocked Central Asian republics are continually looking for ways to get access to the sea. The ports at Karachi and Gwadar are being upgraded by China as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. Sending goods through them would give Central Asian manufacturers direct access to the Indian Ocean.

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— This story was published in issue 475 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on March 15 2021

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Thousands of railway wagons stuck on Kazakhstan-China border

JAN. 6 2021 (The Bulletin) — China has tightened import criteria for goods entering from Central Asia, a move linked to the coronavirus pandemic, causing queues miles long at its border with Kazakhstan. Media reported that there are 8,400 railway wagons queuing on the border with China. Kazakhstan’s minister of trade, Bakhyt Sultanov, said that China was allowing through only a tenth of the traffic it allowed before the pandemic.

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— This story was first published in issue 467 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

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The Caspian Sea is shrinking, warn scientists

ALMATY/DEC. 23 2020 (The Bulletin) —  The Caspian Sea, which provides a livelihood for thousands of people and acts as a fulcrum for international transit routes through the Central Asia and South Caucasus region, is shrinking, new scientific research showed (Dec. 23).

The report produced by universities in Germany and the Netherlands said that the Caspian Sea could lose up to a third of its water by 2100, with water level dropping by 18m, marooning previously important ports hundreds of kilometres inland.

The report’s authors said they wanted to use the threat to the Caspian Sea to highlight the dangers of global warming to inland seas and lakes.

“A massive warning signal is the projected catastrophic drop in water levels for the Caspian Sea, the largest lake in the world, which could hit stakeholders unprepared,” the report said. 

Previous studies have warned that the Caspian Sea has been shrinking since the 1990s but not this quickly. 

Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Azerbaijan border the Caspian Sea, which lies at the centre of a series of transport corridors that ultimately connect East Asia with Europe. 

The Caspian Sea also hosts the region’s oil and gas industry and is a wildlife reserve, supporting seals, and migratory birds. The report showed how vast areas of the northern section of the Caspian Sea could dry up, with Atyrau in Kazakhstan effectively being stranded hundreds of kilometres from the shore.

Central Asia’s reputation for ecological disasters is already secure with the shrinking of the Aral Sea, which is shared by Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. It shrank in the 1960s and 1970s to half its original size because of Soviet schemes to siphon off its tributaries to irrigate cotton fields.

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— This story was first published in issue 467 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

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Anaklia partners sue Georgian government

TBILISI/JULY 29 (The Bulletin) — The Anaklia Development Consortium (ADC) and one of its key investors filed separate arbitration claims against the Georgia government for cancelling its deal to build the new Black Sea port. 

ADC and Bob Meijer, the investor, said that they are claiming a combined $1b for lost earnings linked to the project.

The Georgian government tore up the contract with the ADC in January because it said that ADC had failed to secure sufficient financial backing to build the new port, supposed to become Georgia’s principal entry and exit for goods being transported to and from China and Europe.

ADC, though, said that the contract was ripped up for political reasons. One of the main backers of the ADC project was, Mamuka Khazaradze, the founder of TBC Bank. TBC Bank is one of Georgia’s biggest high street banks and is listed on the London Stock Exchange but last year Mr Khazaradze was arrested for corruption, allegations he has said are politically motivated.

ADC said that this row between Mr Khazaradze and the Georgian government tarnished the project.

“The Government deliberately acted to ensure that ADC could not succeed with project development. In this instance the Government abused its power because the ruling party and its leader decided the project’s success was contrary to their own political and economic interests,” ADC said in a statement. 

The statement also said that the ADC was bringing its action through the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris and that Mr Meijer was pursuing his claim through the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington.

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— This story was published in issue 455 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on July 31 2020.

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Turkmenistan Airlines to lease first Boeing cargo jet

JUNE 22 (The Bulletin) — Turkmenistan Airlines will lease its first Boeing 777F, a cargo plane. Media reported that the deal will cost Turkmenistan Airlines an estimated $352m to lease the aircraft from Frankfurt-based Aircraft Finance Germany. The high cost highlights the growing importance of the Europe-Asia cargo business that airlines in Central Asia are competing for.

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— This story was first published in issue 451 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, published on June 23 2020

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Turkmenistan opens border with Iran

JUNE 20 (The Bulletin) — Turkmen officials allowed 30 trucks stuck in Iran for 2-1/2 months after the country was closed as part of Turkmenistan’s push to incubate itself against the spread of the coronavirus to cross the border. According to media reports, Iranian officials are still waiting to process 740 more trucks that have been stuck at the border since April 1.

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— This story was first published in issue 451 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, published on June 23 2020

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Kazakhstan and Iran sign deal to build Special Commercial Zone in Aktau

FEB. 25 2020 (The Bulletin) — Kazakhstan and Iran signed a deal to build a joint special commercial zone in Aktau that will be aimed at helping shift goods between Iran and Central Asia. Media reports said it will cost around 15m euros to build the 5 hectare site in Aktau. Relations, and trade, between Iran and Central Asia have been increasing over the past five years. Kazakhstan’s main exports to Iran are barley, wheat and rolled iron. Iran sends pistachios, dates, apples, plastics, tableware and meat processing equipment to Kazakhstan and Central Asia. 

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— This story was first published in issue 438 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

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Georgia gives Anaklia partners more time to name financers

DEC. 17 2019 (The Bulletin) — Georgia’s government extended to Dec. 31 a deadline for the partners developing the Anaklia port on the Black Sea to submit new loan agreements after they missed a Dec. 16 deadline. The Anaklia was supposed to be the biggest infrastructure project built in Georgia, opening it up to more East-West cargo traffic, but instead each side has accused the other of undermining progress. The partners are TBC Holding, the US’ SSA Marine, Britain’s Wondernet Express and Bulgaria’s G-Star.
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— This story was first published in issue 432 of the weekly Bulletin on Dec. 27 2019

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