Central Asia’s strategic location along intermodal trade routes bridging East and West was the focus of discussions at the 9th Meeting of the Ministers of Transport and Communication of Economic Cooperation Organization Member Countries.
Transport leaders, taking part in the one-day meeting in Turkmenistan, agreed that strengthening transport and transit processes through improved connectivity must be the region’s lead priority as it aims to become a global trading hub.
Over 70 transport experts attended the event, organised by the Turkmenistan government in Avaza. One of the main working sessions entitled The Great Silk Road. Toward New Levels of Development, highlighted opportunities arising from China’s Belt and Road initiative. Participants also joined in celebrations marking the official opening of the International Seaport on the Turkmen coast of the Caspian Sea.
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, President of Turkmenistan, welcomed the high-level delegates from across the ECO region. The President, who has spearheaded the adoption of three UN resolutions on sustainable transport, reiterated his support for ever closer collaboration with the UN and international organisations like IRU, to improve road transport services.
Addressing transport leaders, IRU’s head of Eurasia, Dmitry Cheltsov, called for joint industry actions across all transport modes to digitalise, and pave the way for intermodal freight transport and full logistics interoperability. He expressed his appreciation to the President and his government for their championing of the transport sector as a key contributor of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
IRU member association, THADA, hosted a booth at the event, where they promoted TIR’s digital tools and highlighted IRU’s upcoming World Congress in Oman.