Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan are working on a new draft intergovernmental agreement in the field of international road transport, the head of the department for the development of transport corridors, logistics and transit at the Ministry of Transport of Uzbekistan Bekzod Kholmatov told Trend.
According to Kholmatov, there is an intergovernmental agreement which has already expired. In this regard, a new draft agreement is being worked out, which provides for the exemption of carriers of the two countries from road charges. He also noted that this agreement is currently under consideration by the Azerbaijani side.
Also, Kholmatov said that on April 5-7, in Baku, within the framework of the Turkic Council, a delegation of transport and customs departments of Uzbekistan discussed cooperation with Azerbaijan, namely, issues of further development of the Trans-Caspian corridor.
“In this context, the possibility of using electronic permit forms for international road transport, as well as issues of reducing tariffs was discussed.
Due to the restrictive measures in connection with COVID-19, which were established with Turkmenistan, it is very difficult to transport goods in this direction. Therefore, the most optimal route for cargo transportation is either through the north or through the Trans-Caspian route. We came to an agreement that it is necessary to further develop the Trans-Caspian corridor,” the head of the department said.
According to statistics, in 2020, despite the pandemic, the volume of freight traffic between Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan increased by six percent, while the volume of cargo transportation for six months of 2021 has had a downward trend. Freight traffic has dropped by almost in half.
“One of the reasons for this change is that there is an acute issue of discussing a new draft agreement on international road transport, which gives the right to move through the territory of Azerbaijan,” he said.
In addition, all freight traffic between Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan by rail is carried out within the framework of the OSJD (Organization for Cooperation between Railways). It is noted that rail freight traffic between countries in 2020 increased by 30 percent. The transit of Azerbaijani goods through the territory of Uzbekistan by means of railway transport has almost doubled.
Also, according to Kholmatov, several packages of documents are being developed within the framework of TRACECA, which make it possible to improve transportation between Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan.
“One of such documents is permissive forms, which give the right to transport cargo to several states without stopping or delaying. It is also planned to transfer all these procedures to electronic format in order to speed up and simplify this process. At the moment we are actively working in this direction,” he said.
Commenting on the role of Azerbaijan within the framework of the International High-Level Conference “Central and South Asia: Regional Interconnectivity. Challenges and opportunities”, Kholmatov stressed that the role of Azerbaijan is very important.
“Despite the fact that, this conference is dedicated to the regional interconnectivity of Central and South Asia, we must not forget about the East and West. Uzbekistan is also actively negotiating within the framework of the five-sided agreement. In January of this year, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Uzbekistan signed a protocol on the introduction of tariff discounts in the amount of 50 to 70 percent for cargo transportation, which makes it possible to increase the number of cargo transportation by rail,” said Kholmatov.
“Last year, more than 30,000 tons of cargo was sent through Azerbaijan to Turkey. In this direction, the accession of Turkey and China is very important for us. If we manage to connect them, we will get a full-fledged corridor from China to Turkey and Europe,” the head of the department said.
“We do not see this corridor towards the West without Azerbaijan. The role of Azerbaijan in the direction of the Trans-Caspian corridor is very important for us,” he stressed.