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Astrakhan Region's role in the development of Russian-Turkmen relations noted in Ashgabat

A Russian-Turkmen business forum is taking place in Ashgabat on January, 19-20. Its goal is to deepen trade, economic and industrial cooperation between the Russian Federation and Turkmenistan. The event is attended by a delegation from Astrakhan Region headed by Governor Igor Babushkin. The management company of Caspian Cluster is represented by Sergey Milushkin, Director General of SEZ Lotus JSC.

Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin, who opened the forum, noted the high potential for the development of economic cooperation between Russia and Turkmenistan, including the sphere of shipbuilding cooperation and formation of international transport routes. «And here our position fully coincides with the approaches of our Turkmen colleagues. Together we are working to develop the International North—South Transport Corridor (INSTC), to reach its full capacity. This will open a wide field of opportunities for business related to the construction of infrastructure, service and trade-logistics hubs, and modernization of seaports».

Mikhail Mishustin also emphasized the important role of Russian regions in the development of bilateral relations, including our region. «The Astrakhan Region has many plans and projects, including in terms of establishing regular maritime links between the ports of Olya and Turkmenbashi,» he said.

In his speech, Astrakhan Region Governor Igor Babushkin noted that in order to develop the INSTC, the Caspian cluster was formed in the region by order of the Russian Government, which included two special economic zones: a port and an industrial-production zone.

«In 2024, with the commissioning of the first stage of the port special economic zone, cargo turnover through the Astrakhan water transport hub is expected to increase by more than 3 million tones, and the total berth capacity after the formation of the port zone will be about 20 million tones,» he said.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Energy of Astrakhan Region Ilya Volynsky and Director General of SEZ Lotus JSC Sergey Milushkin presented the prospects of the Caspian cluster in development of transport and logistics cooperation between Russia and Turkmenistan at the round table held as part of the forum. The Special Economic Zone «Lotus» may be considered for opening joint Russian-Turkmen production facilities, ship construction, development of export-import relations between residents of the SEZ and partners from Turkmenistan. Port SEZ is considered as an important port-logistic hub in the Russian part of the Caspian Sea and a key element of the the International North—South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

— Given the whole range of measures that are being implemented in Russia to develop this corridor, including the decision to create a port special economic zone, the construction of modern container ships to be carried out by SEZ «Lotus» resident and working to establish unimpeded cargo passage and regular container lines, this route is becoming a key one in the Caspian region. And the desire of colleagues from Turkmenistan to join it, considering creation of their logistics hub in the port SEZ and opening a shipping line between Astrakhan and Turkmenbashi, confirms it. The project will work for the whole of Central Asia, increasing trade turnover between Russia and the countries of the region. We highly appreciate the experience and intentions of our Turkmen colleagues to move forward in this direction, the work of the Government of the Russian Federation, the leadership of the Astrakhan Region and we will assist our partners in all respects", — commented Sergey Milushkin, Director General of SEZ Lotus JSC.

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