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Published: 18 August 2013
New port for Turkmenbashi
A new port will cater for Turkemenistan's oil products, LNG and cotton exports as well as passenger ferries
A ground-breaking ceremony for Turkmenistan’s largest port project, “Turkmenbashi International Ports,” was held last week with the participation of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, ministers and other dignitaries from the two countries.
Turkish construction company GAP, owned by the Çalık Group, will build a new port in Turkmenbashi on the Caspian Sea coast over the next four years. Turkmenistan launched the US$2B project to boost the country's exports of oil products, liquefied gas and textiles. The project includes construction of four dedicated terminals - for oil products, LNG, containers and ro-pax ferries - and a shipbuilding yard.
An 800 kms long pipeline is already being built to transport natural gas from Turkmenistan's Galkynysh gas field to Turkmenbashi, to reduce reliance on exports to Russia. Turkmenistan's foreign trade with Europe and the Mediterranean region is mainly handled via Russia's Volga-Don Canal connecting the Caspian Sea with the Sea of Azov (Black Sea).
From Turkmenbashi, trade with Turkey and Europe would be via transit through Azerbaijan, on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, and Georgia. A railway is being built between the eastern Turkish city of Kars, the Georgian capital Tbilisi and the Azeri capital of Baku. “The railway project will be complementary to the Turkmenbashi International Ports project, all making Turkey and Turkmenistan strategically important transit countries,” Prime Minister Erdoğan was quoted in Hurriyet Daily News.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is planned for launch in 2014. Taken in conjunction with the construction of the Marmaray rail tunnel in Istanbul, a direct rail link between West Asia and Europe will be established. New and upgraded ro-pax ferry services will connect Turkmenbashi, Baku and Aktau.
President Berdimuhamedov said the new port would lead to a new level in trade relations between Asia and Europe, making it easier for Europe to access Asian markets.
According to Hurriyet, between January and July this year Turkey and Turkmenistan signed deals for projects worth US$5.6B. Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Iraq followed in terms of the value of new deals with Turkish interests.