The CAREC Programme: Corridor 2

Alexandra Colcer

Corridor 2 is the longest CAREC corridor, linking East Asia with the Caucasus, the Mediterranean and Southern Europe. It crosses Georgia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Republic of Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and the People’s Republic of China (PRC):

o Corridor 2a includes a road and rail transport route across all eight countries; the main cities connected are: Gabdabani (Georgia) – Baku (Azerbaijan) – Beyneu (Kazakhstan) – Djizzak (Uzbekistan) – Kanibadam – Osh (Kyrgyzstan) – Hami / Hexi (RPC). It is mainly used to export products from Central Asia to Russia and Europe.
o Corridor 2b also has road and rail routes connecting Gabadani (Georgia) – Baku (Azerbaijan) – Osh (Kyrgystan) and finally by Hami / Hexi to Ashgabat, Mary, Bukhara, Bekabad, Djizzak (Uzbekistan), Kanibadam (Tajikistan) on the same route with two other corridors: corridor 2a and corridor 2d.
o Corridor 2c starts from Böyük Kəsik (Georgia), continuing to Baku (Azerbaijan), Beyneu, bypassing the Aral Sea through the north via Saksaulskaya, crossing a large part of Kazakhstan, reaching the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region via Kuytun, Turpan and Hami / Hexi. It is remarked by container cargo transport from the PRC to Turkey and, with the opening of the Bosphorus Tunnel, in Europe.
o Corridor 2d has a broken path; from Herat (Afghanistan) arrives in Mary (Turkmenistan) to return to Mazar-e-Sharif and then to Tajikistan, ending in Hami / Hexi.

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Source: Asian Development Bank (2014). Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Corridor Performance Measurement and Monitoring. A Forward-Looking Retrospective. pp. 41

Corridor 2 includes 9,900 km of roads, 9,700 km of railways and 6 logistics centers, making it the most extensive corridor. While the initial version of the project provided only lanes 2a and 2b, two routes were added to increase regional connectivity. Also,  the road was not accidental, as the Chinese region passed the most important route of the old Silk Road. The corridor has a sinuous route as a result of adapting to the different reliefs forms (from the very high areas – the northern part of the Pamir Mountains to the valleys – the Ferghana valley, the extensive steppes and the negative altitudes – Vpadina Kaundy ).
As between Azerbaijan and Europe the trade level is consistent, creating new routes (or expanding and improving existing ones) will support the development of international trade in the region. Also, this route has an important inter-modal potential, given that it transits the Caspian Sea and then extends to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
So far, oil products and natural gas were the main products transported through this corridor, followed by machinery and industrial machinery, food, cotton and textiles.

It includes 41 projects, of which:
 4 in Afghanistan (three of them are for railroad and road rehabilitation)
 6 in Azerbaijan (three of them consist of building or rehabilitation of roads, the
acquisition of ferries and the construction of the international maritime port complex Baku)
 9 in Kazakhstan (electrification of railways, railway construction, modernization of
roads, railways and the port of Aktau).
 2 in Kyrgyzstan (the most important is the restoration of Osh International Airport).
 5 in Tajikistan (assuming road and railway reconstruction).
 5 in Turkmenistan (materialized by the construction of two new railway lines, the
construction of a maritime transport corridor and a motorway)
 10 in Uzbekistan (focusing on improving roadways, creating new railways,
 building a centralized power station at Navoi airport).
 In addition, for each country, the construction of at least one logistics center is

Some of the projects already implemented:
 Kuitun–Sailimuhu Highway (PRC) constructed and expanded, 12 sections of rural roads
with a total of 600 km rehabilitated
 Building the Shagon-Zigar Road (Tajikistan), which forms the southern border of
Tajikistan with Afghanistan, linking the Khulyab-Kalaykhumb
 85 km of East-West highway, from Hajigabul to Kyurdamir in Azerbaijan
 improvement of about 124 kilometers of the two-lane highway from Osh to Gulcha, to
Sopu Korgon (Kyrgyzstan)
 improvement of the 89-kilometer Yevlakhâ-Ganja (Azerbaijan) and 38 km Qazakh-
Georgia border sections of the East-West Highway and the improvement of 10 local roads of about 65 km to enhance access to the highway;
 Upgrading of some sections of the Alat–Masalli portion of the Alat–Astara–Iranian
Border Highway (M3), including expansion of the existing two-lane roadway to a four-lane roadway, and construction of bypasses around key towns; rehabilitation and upgrading of about 124-kilometer (km) Baku–Shamakhi–Muganli road; improvement of selected local roads connecting to the Alat–Masalli portion of the M3 Highway and the Baku–Shamakhi–Muganli road (M4); and land acquisition along the Alat–Masalli portion of the M3 Highway.
 Improvement of 131 kilometers of the A-380 highway, a 1,204 kilometer road that runs
from the Kazakh border in Uzbekistan’s north toward Afghanistan and Turkmenistan in the south.
 rehabilitation of 116 kilometers of the Hajigabul–Bahramtapa Highway (M6)
(Azerbaijan) and 200 km of local roads connecting rural areas to the M6 road
 Construction of 9 new bridges and modernization of road infrastructure in cities as Altay, Changji, Hami, Kuytun and Turpan (RPC)
 Rehabilitation of a 30 km section of the Osh-Batken-Isfana corridor (Kyrgyzstan)
 Rehabilitation of about 50 km of the A380 motorway between km 440-490 in 2014 and
another 85 km in 2017
 Installation of signaling, power and telecommunication systems for about 288 kilometers of the railway between Chilmammet and Buzkhun (Turkmenistan) as well as track maintenance and safety equipment.

The ongoing projects:
 electrification of 145.1 km of non-electrified railways in the Ferghana Valley;
 Rehabilitation of the remaining 87 km section of the A-380 motorway;
 Reconstruction of 86.7 km between Shetpe and Zhetybay and another 83 km between Zhetybay and the capital of Aktau (Kazakhstan);
 Upgrading a 100 km section of the existing two-lane M4 Baku-Shamakhi (Azerbaijan) road into a four-lane highway;
 Rehabilitation of the main railway line East-West, 240 km long, purchase of new electric locomotives, modernization of Azerbaijan Railways (ADDY);
 Building 85 km of road from Hajigabul, West Azerbaijan to Kyurdamir and a detour belt for Kyurdamir.

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The total project value reaches USD$ 6.6bn; with the main sources of funding provided by: the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Government of the involved countries, and the Saudi Fund for Development, Islamic Development Bank, Cities of Altay, Changji, Hami, Kuytun, and Turpan, China Development Bank (People’s Republic of China), Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (PRC), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Clean Energy Fund, OPEC, and European Union-Technical Assistance for the Commonwealth of Independent States.

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  • Asian Development Bank (2014). CAREC Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy 2020 pp. 22, 41 – 43
  • Asian Development Bank (2014). Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Corridor Performance Measurement and Monitoring. A Forward-Looking Retrospective, pp. 8, 10, 62-63

Published by Chamber of Commerce and Industry Romania-Turkmenistan

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Romania-Turkmenistan (CCIRom-Tkm) is a non-governmental organization of public utility, autonomous and apolitical, founded in 2009 to promote the economic cooperation between Romania, Turkmenistan and other countries in the Central Asian region.

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