Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The EurAsEC Transport Corridors

Vinokurov, Evgeny and Dzhadraliyev, Murat and Shcherbanin, Yuriy (2009): The EurAsEC Transport Corridors.

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Abstract

The geographic and geo-economic location of EurAsEC countries gives them significant strategic potential for freight transit. EurAsEC has motorway and railway corridors running east-west and north-south, and a number of new corridors are being constructed. However, to handle such huge volumes of cargo, the region’s existing transport infrastructure must be modernised. Sea vs land: 2:1. Transportation of transit cargo by sea (transoceanic service) has some strong advantages, such as low delivery cost, established relationships with customers and high standards of service. This leads us to conclude that sea transit will prevail in the near future. Land transit routes offer only one competitive advantage – speed of delivery, which is two to three times faster compared with the sea routes linking East Asia with Eastern Europe. This advantage must be exploited. A considerable proportion of “time-sensitive” transit (some 16 million tonnes annually, according to the most conservative estimate) can be redirected to ITCs operated by EurAsEC. There are a number of physical and non-physical barriers to the realisation of the EurAsEC’s transit potential. Physical barriers include the poor state of motorways and railways and their related infrastructure, i.e. obsolete rolling-stock, which prevents any increase in transportation speeds and volumes; existing roads do not meet international standards; border crossing points and logistics centres have a low throughput capacity. Non-physical barriers include cumbersome permit systems, unreasonable delays in crossing borders, various charges and additional taxes imposed by regulatory and local authorities, scheduled and spot-check inspections of cargo weight, etc. The non-physical barriers are the most significant obstacles to the development of cargo transit in the region and cause serious delays in cargo delivery. Time lost does not only result in loss of money and customer trust, but also the loss of the main (in fact the only) competitive advantage land transit has over sea transit. Given their geographic position and national economic interests, Russia, Kazakhstan and their neighbours have a direct interest in the Eurasian integration process that extends beyond the boundaries of the post-Soviet space and involves the region’s most important countries. Projects implemented in certain economic sectors provide a reliable basis for regional economic integration. What begins in those key sectors eventually spreads to the institutional level. In this context, therefore, transportation must be among these priority sectors.

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