Eureporter: Middle Corridor – key transport hub between Asia and Europe

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Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are becoming key transport hubs between Asia and Europe thanks to the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (Middle Corridor), Report informs referring to an Eureporter article.

Since the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the traditional transport links connecting Asia with the EU countries were disrupted. In addition, the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea have greatly affected imports and exports from Europe.

From November to December 2023, due to attacks by Houthi militants, world trade fell by almost 1.5%. The situation worsened in January 2024, when the United States and its allies launched a military operation in Yemen. The transit of ships through the Suez Canal decreased by 30% compared to January 2023.

This has led to a strong increase in shipping prices in the world. Economists have estimated that the current supply disruptions across the Red Sea have had a greater impact on shipping than the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to transport difficulties, prices of goods are rising very quickly, which hits the pockets of common Europeans, whose indignation worries bureaucrats in Brussels, especially before the decisive elections to the European Parliament.

As an alternative to the European Union, Trans-Caspian International Transport Route or Middle Corridor has significant potential.

The idea of the New Silk Road is for goods from China to pass quickly from Kazakhstan to the coast of the Caspian Sea. Further, goods reached the European Union through Azerbaijan and Georgia.

According to transport experts, the volume of traffic along this corridor increased by 86%, reaching 2.8 million tons, compared with 1.5 million in 2022. This is a significant increase compared to only 586,000 in 2021.

Therefore, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are becoming important transport hubs between Asia and Europe. However, the two states also have their own benefits from the implementation of the project.

In this context experts believe that the European Union needs to quickly and decisively increase investments in the Middle Corridor certainly if Brussels would like to maintain its geopolitical position in Central Asia.