Investments and bureaucratic initiatives continue for the opening of the Zengezur Corridor, which came to the agenda after the Karabakh war.
Sector representatives stated that food, mining and construction products produced in Central Asia will flow to Turkey thanks to the corridor and called for investments to increase the capacity of Dilucu Border Gate and international logistics lines in Eastern Anatolia.
Within the scope of the corridor, which will be approximately 43 km long, investments in Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan will continue, while Russia will ensure the security of the corridor in accordance with the relevant agreement. With the opening of the corridor, the trade volume between Azerbaijan and Turkey is expected to gain momentum, while at the same time access to the Black Sea and Europe via Turkey will be strengthened for the Turkic states in Central Asia. Thanks to the new corridor, the Central Asian states will no longer be dependent on high Chinese freight rates, while food, mining and construction products produced in the region will flow to Turkey. This will further improve trade relations between the Turkic Republics.
Izmir-Gurbulak Regional Representative of the International Transporters Association (UND) Mahmut Yigit, said that if the Zengezur Corridor is opened, transportation costs in the region will decrease and logistics activities will intensify. Pointing out that especially Turkey’s Dilucu Border Gate will gain great importance, Yigit said, “If the Zengezur Corridor is opened, the lines of logistics companies operating in the Eastern Anatolia Region will be updated again. While the density at the Gurbulak Border Gate will decrease in the new order, the demands for the Dilucu Border Gate will increase. We expect a significant increase, especially in the export and import of seasonal agricultural products. For this reason, necessary measures should be taken in advance to provide fast agricultural quarantine services at Dilucu. The number of entry and exit gates at Dilucu Border Gate should be increased, and truck parks should be further expanded.
Kerem Imrak, Member of the Board of Directors of UND and Chairman of the Board of Directors of İmsan Group, said that thanks to the Zengezur corridor, the route of trade in the Caucasus will be shorter in terms of both rail and road.
Haldun Kavrar, General Manager of ATF Forwarding, said: “The corridor will provide an important source for Turkey’s food, ready-to-wear and apparel exports. With the Zengezur corridor, risky trade lines on Iran will shift to Nakhchivan and trade routes will become safer. For the corridor to function sustainably, the Ro-Ro lines on the Caspian Sea between Turkmenistan and Baku must be rehabilitated. The Baku – Tbilisi – Kars railway line should be transformed into an electric train infrastructure. In addition, international routes through the Turkic Republics and Azerbaijan should also be developed. New electric train lines to be built on these lines will reduce the carbon footprint of our country and strengthen our hand against the Carbon at the Border mechanism in trade with Europe. If Zengezur is opened, it will provide a two-way trade opportunity between Turkey and Central Asia.”
Recep Koca, Business Development and Marketing Director of Saha Logistics, said: “The Zengezur corridor will re-establish the link between Turkey and the Turkic Republics and reduce dependence on Iran. The biggest advantage of the corridor will be to pave the way for intermodal and multimodal transportation. Domestically, eyes will turn to Iğdır, especially in terms of logistics and warehousing. If regional development is designed correctly by combining production and logistics with the investments to be made around Iğdır and by including provinces such as Ağrı, Ardahan and Kars in the game, it is necessary to be prepared for migration from Istanbul in the new decade. In particular, that geography within the country should be carefully examined and production should be shifted to the east of the country by opening vertical corridors and long-term projects that can change all balances by investing in foreign trade should be implemented. Roads and rails need to be combined to increase production. The railroad has a great logistical potential in Eastern Anatolia. High-speed rail projects that will provide fast and efficient connections to other parts of Turkey are of great importance here. These projects accelerate not only passenger transportation, but also the transportation of goods.
Burhan Cakan, General Manager of Gürbulak Nakliyat, said that the Zengezur corridor will play an important role in re-evaluating and developing Turkey’s logistics potential. According to Cakan, in the short term, especially in our Eastern Anatolia region, it will be necessary to improve the current railway, highway and infrastructure conditions, and then expand the railway network that will facilitate the transportation of Eastern Anatolia to other regions in a wider area.
Mahmut Arslan, Founding Chairman of the Board of Directors of Arbel A.Ş., pointed out that the Zengezur Corridor is being blocked by China, Iran, and Pakistan due to its obstructive aspects to China’s One Belt One Road project. Noting that the Turkic Republics will be less dependent on countries such as China in terms of logistics if the aforementioned corridor is opened, Mahmut Arslan said, “The biggest problem faced by the Turkic Republics is the high logistics costs. The region is logistically dependent on the infrastructure of countries like China. For example, if you are going to bring a product worth 150 dollars from Kyrgyzstan through the existing lines, you have to pay 150 dollars freight. This situation reduces the interest in Central Asian goods in global markets. However, with the opening of Zengezur, the goods of food producers in Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan will automatically come to Azerbaijan via the Caspian Sea and then to Turkey. Logistics costs and deadlines will be reduced to more sustainable levels.