The VIII Caspian Media Forum 2023 has ended in Astrakhan. The panel discussion “The International North – South Transport Corridor. New realities & new opportunities” with the participation of Igor Babushkin, the Governor of the Astrakhan Region, Sergey Saburov, Deputy CEO of ANO Directorate of International Transport Corridors, Mehdi Akouchekian, the Consul General of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Astrakhan, Aleksandr Shpakovsky, Minister-Counselor of the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in the Russian Federation, and others, was one of the main events of the Forum.
Igor Levitin, the Aide to the President of the Russian Federation, welcomed the participants via videoconference. He emphasized the strategic role of the INSTC and announced its potential cargo throughput of about 60 million tons.
– If we combine our efforts, we will be able to fulfil the tasks set by the President of the Russian Federation to have this route not only for transportation, but also for the economic development of Iran, the Persian Gulf and the Central Asian countries, – noted Igor Levitin.
Dmitry Volvach, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, in his video address to the discussion participants underlined the growth of cargo turnover at all parts of the INSTC as its total amount have risen to 16 million tons. He also emphasized the specific value of SEZs in the development of the INSTC and reminded about the establishment of the Technologies and Logistics Union founded by SEZ Technopolis Moscow, SEZ Lotus and ANO Directorate of International Transport Corridors. The work of the Union will become the basis for an international union of SEZs of the Caspian states and the countries interested in the INSTC.
During the plenary discussion Denis Afanasiev, Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Astrakhan Region while speaking on the development of the Port SEZ of the Caspian Cluster called it one of the key projects of the INSTC.
The first phase, including container, oil and grain terminals with a total capacity of more than 2 million tons, is currently under construction. The tenants have already invested about 500 million rubles. The first phase is scheduled to be launched in the second half of 2024. In August, the first trial shipment of fodder barley was destined for Iran from the 9th berth of the Port SEZ. It contained 3 thousand tons of the grain. The investor plans to increase the volume to 12 thousand tons per month.
The second phase of the Port SEZ includes the construction of a new port complex with a container terminal near Ilmen Zaburunny (7 km south of the Olya Seaport). It is planned to build 20 new berths with a total capacity of 8-10 million tons there, with an opportunity to increase this amount to up to 20 million tons. This will enable the creation of modern port capacities in Astrakhan to handle cargoes passing through the Trans-Caspian route of the INSTC.
SEZ Lotus JSC, the Management Company of the Caspian Cluster incorporating the Industrial SEZ Lotus in the Narimanov District and the Port SEZ in the Liman District, is also working effectively with partners from the Caspian states.
Based on materials from Astrobl
– We have signed agreements and are implementing joint projects with Iran's Anzali and Chabahar economic zones and the Mostazafan Foundation. The first household chemicals plant of Iranian brands in Russia is being built in the Industrial SEZ Lotus. We are working with Turkmenistan partners on the project of establishing a transport and logistics center in the Port SEZ. Partners from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are also considering the Port SEZ to develop logistics on the Caspian Sea. That's why it's important for us that Astrakhan has as many opportunities as possible for dialogue with Caspian partners, – comments Sergey Milushkin, Director General of SEZ Lotus JSC.